A Twitter Chat on the New Health Law and Kids

How the Affordable Care Act affects children and their families

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U.S. News & World Report will expand its consumer search tool Best Health Insurance Plans 2013-2014 this fall around the launch of state and federal health insurance marketplaces on Oct. 1. These online marketplaces, established under the Affordable Care Act, are designed to help consumers who do not have access to employer or government health plans to obtain coverage. U.S. News Best Health Insurance Plans will provide a guide to state marketplaces, along with a tool to help consumers pick the best plans for themselves and their families, based on their budgets and location.

To further the conversation and to guide consumers' choices, U.S. News held a Twitter chat with experts about what the new health law will mean for children and their families. The law bans insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, covers vision and dental care, and preventive services. Experts offered scores of helpful tips, such as noting that at times parents should consider enrolling their children in the government's Children's Health Insurance Plan rather than their employer plan. They also discussed how giving youths the option to enroll in their parents' plan until age 26 has been helpful during a difficult job market.

The chat's 253 participants, including members of the U.S. News health rankings team, sent more than 1,050 tweets during the course of the discussion.