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Health care reform timeline 2012 Posted: September 23rd, 2010

By Megg Mueller

Most of the changes scheduled for 2012, under the Affordable Care Act, take place behind the scenes in health care administration, focusing on streamlining administrative issues, data collection, and physician quality outcomes.

The major provision of interest to consumers to be enacted in 2012 is:

  • On Oct. 1, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program launches to help provide support for people who become functionally disabled and require long-term care. The program is voluntary, much like a supplemental disability or life insurance benefit. Participants pay into the plan through voluntary deductions, and should you need long-term disability assistance, the cash benefit can be used for non-medical services and support. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes the benefit isn't supposed to cover all expenses of long-term care, but instead may reduce Medicaid reliance and should offer some relief to caregivers of disabled adults. While contributions can start in 2012, payout of benefits isn't scheduled to begin until 2017. You must pay into the program for five years, and have worked at least three of those years.

One other change consumers might note is the collection of more data from federal health programs. The goal is to assist health care workers understand persistent disparities, so starting in March 2012, expect questions from federal health programs about race, ethnicity and language.