A research fee established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes effect tomorrow, July 31, when health insurers and companies with self-insured health plans must begin paying $1 per covered person for plan years that end before Oct. 1, 2013. For plan years ending between this Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 of next year, the fee escalates to $2 per life covered.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Fee (PCORI) was included as part of ACA to pay for "comparative effectiveness research," whose goal is to determine which medical devices and procedures work best.

After Dec. 31, 2014, the annual fee will be set based upon national per-capita health spending.