Here’s what you can expect within the next 6 months to 1 year from the new healthcare reform legislation.

Whatever your position on the healthcare legislation that was signed into law today, one thing remains true: while healthcare has been changed for good, YOU are still in the driver’s seat!  Now comes the time to inform yourself and prepare to take optimize your health experience.  And that means you too!  Everyone should be a patient sometimes.  If being a patient invokes a negative sentiment/connotation, change your mind about what being a patient means to you.

Consider that health-conscious people see their doctors as resources, keys even, to longer, happier lives.  How do you see your relationship with your doctor?  You don’t have one?!?  You’re too young to need a doctor? WRONG!  Evidence suggests that diseases can be caught earlier when one sees her/his doctor regularly.  The obesity pandemic, as an example, has resulted in earlier occurence of chronic diseases, like hypertension and diabetes in young adulthood.  However, if caught early, these conditions can be contained and in many cases, with the right changes, reversed and cured.

In any case, the big changes to healthcare won’t take place for 4 years–2014.  Here’s what you can expect within the next 6 months to 1 year:

1. Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.

2. Parents can keep there adult children on an insurance plan until age 26.

3. Insurance plans, which are new, must provide coverage for preventive care at no charge.

4. A 10% tax will be imposed on indoor tanning on or after July 1.

5. Small businesses (<50 employees) receive tax credits for 35% of health care premiums, increasing to 50% by 2014.

6. No longer can insurance companies place a limit on annual or lifetime benefits.

7. Seniors will get a $250 rebate to cover Medicare prescription drug not covered by existing plans.