New healthcare changes start January 1

By Tracy Clemons – bio|e-mail

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- January 1 is the day more of the new provisions of the healthcare reform law will officially go into effect.

Just days away, if one asks many people on the street how much they know about what's about to happen, many answers will be the same.

"...Not very much about it," says Bernice Dodson.

"I'm not too well-informed on it, but I don't think it's going to be good," says Edward Lucas.

Lucas is retired and on Medicare. He says the healthcare reform law has already started to hit wallet.

"I'm having to pay more for my medicine. I have to pay more if I go to the doctor. Where they were paying some of the things, I'm having to pay more."

A big change is to the medicines you'll be able to buy with your flexible spending accounts.

"You will no longer be able to use those funds to buy over the counter medication that wasn't prescribed by a doctor," says Robin Mayhall of Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana.

Mayhall tells KSLA News 12 there will also be new funding aimed at primary care, which she says is a positive- "There will be increased reimbursement to Medicare providers for general primary care and general surgery."

But it all comes at a cost.

"Unfortunately, while we believe that a lot more people will have access to care under the law, that care may be much more expensive for everyone," Mayhall says.

Bernice Dodson says she will most likely pay more for her coverage next year, but will know for sure at the first of the year.

Edward Lucas says he's sure he'll pay more for everything: "Any time the government makes a change, the way it looks to me, I get hurt. It's never to help me."

Robin Mayhall says anyone who's already insured should check with their provider to see what the reform will mean for their individual policy.

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