Few Health Care Plans Change on August 1

August 1 is the first possible date when health plans could be required to cover eight new preventive services for women—including all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives—under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

However, most Americans saw no change in their health insurance that day, because their plans renew on another date or are covered by a one-year “temporary enforcement safe harbor” or a “grandfathering” provision that delays changes.

The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that up to 87 percent of the 133 million Americans who get their health insurance through large employers (those with 100 or more workers) and 80 percent of the 43 million who work for small employers remained in grandfathered plans in 2011. The numbers go down to about 66 percent for large employers and 51 percent for small employers in 2013.

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