Federal health care law timeline
• Health care legislation is signed into law.
• Small businesses that offer employee coverage can apply for a credit when they file their 2010 taxes in 2011.
• Seniors who hit the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage begin receiving relief with $250 rebate checks.
• $5 billion program created to help people who retire before age 65 maintain affordable coverage.
• Individuals begin enrolling in federally funded temporary high risk insurance pools.
• Lifetime limits on insurance coverage eliminated and annual limits restricted.
• 100 percent coverage offered on certain preventive services.
• Insurers can't deny insurance coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions.
• Insurance companies prohibited from dropping coverage for those who are sick.
• Young adults allowed to stay on their parents' insurance plans until their 26th birthday.
On the horizon
• 20 percent tax is applied to nonqualified medical expenses taken out of Health Savings Accounts before age 65.
• Those who fall into the Medicare Part D coverage gap can receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescriptions.
• New regulations aimed at increasing the use of electronic health records to reduce medical errors and paperwork start taking effect.
• Volunteer long-term care insurance program provides cash benefits for disabled adults.
• Financial incentives offered to hospitals to improve quality of care.
• State Medicaid plans required to pay primary care physicians no less than 100 percent of Medicare payment rates.
• Federal government provides additional funding for continued coverage of children not eligible for Medicaid.
• Most Americans must start purchasing health insurance.
• Insurance companies prohibited from refusing to sell or renew coverage based on gender or pre-existing conditions.
For more information, visit healthcare.gov.