A week ago today, some of the first changes to be made under the newly enacted health reform legislation finally began to take effect. For starters, July 1 marked the advent of the 10% tax on tanning salons, which NPR’s Scott Hensley reports is expected to generate nearly $3 billion in the next ten years. Of course, with the start of summer, I’m not sure how quickly consumers may feel any effects of this that salon owners may decide to pass on, but then again, maybe people will head to the tanning bed in anticipation of looking good for their inaugural trip to the beach or the pool.
The federal high-risk insurance pool also became available last week, which means that all those people denied coverage because of their pre-existing conditions now have a path to affordable coverage. Many states will also be creating their own high-risk pools, but those haven’t debuted yet.
And then there’s the new portal on the web that I’m hoping proves to be like Priceline.com for health insurance. That’s one of the ideas anyway. It will probably be a long time before that becomes a reality, but hey, you have to start somewhere, right? While there are likely to be numerous barriers for consumers in using the site, especially in its early stages, anything at all that allows consumers to comparison shop is a big leap forward.
And all of this is just the beginning, folks. There will be a lot more changes rolling out between now and 2014, so stay tuned.