Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The federal health-care reform law: Where to find answers to your questions

It took some time, but there's a fast-growing amount of well-sourced information out there about the effects of federal health-care reform: What takes effect when, who's affected, how, etc.

Here's an updated look at some of the best places to find information:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is doing a lot of the implementation work and rulemaking now, has an excellent page of questions and answers, from the general to pretty specific. (You can also email them at, and they'll try to post an answer online.)

This morning, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners posted a long list of frequently asked questions, focusing particularly on consumers, employers and seniors. They tend to be big-picture questions.

We've also posted a substantial amount of information on our own website, handily arranged by when things take effect. Want to know what kicks in in the first 90 days, or by the end of the year? Start here.

The New York Times' Tara Parker Pope and Michelle Andrews have been answering a lot of specific questions about the reform law on their "Prescriptions" health blog. The answers tend to be more in-depth than the FAQ approach. Questions include "Will generic drugs be delayed?", "Will the law increase coverage of mental health services?" etc.

If you really want to drill deep, take a look at FamiliesUSA's "Health Reform Central," where the pro-reform group has a large collection of white papers, explainers and stats.

Similarly, the Kaiser Family Foundation has a health reform page, which includes a handy online tool to illustrate how premium subsidies will work, an implementation timeline, etc.