|Health Care that Works for Americans|
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, putting in place comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumers from abusive insurance company practices.
Here are the key facts about the Affordable Care Act:
Stronger Consumer Rights and Protections: In the past, insurance companies could take advantage of you. They could deny coverage to children who had asthma or were born with a heart defect, put a lifetime cap on the amount of care they would pay for, or cancel your coverage when you got sick just by finding an accidental mistake in your paperwork. The Affordable Care Act creates a new Patient’s Bill of Rights that protects you from these and other abusive practices.
105 million Americans no longer have lifetime dollar limits on their coverage. More than 17.6 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.
More Affordable Coverage: The law helps you by bringing down health care costs and making sure your health care dollars are spent wisely. Insurance companies will now be accountable to their customers for how they are spending premium dollars, and how much they are raising rates. Plus, the new law will help lower costs through new tax credits and new marketplaces where insurers will have to compete for your business.
Private insurers that provide coverage for nearly 174 million Americans must now justify double-digit premium increases, and nearly 76 million Americans are covered by insurers that are now required to spend at least 80% of premium dollars on health care. 360,000 small businesses received a tax credit in 2011 to help them pay for health insurance for an estimated 2 million workers.
Better Access to Care: 54 million Americans now can receive a free preventive service, such as cancer screenings, through their private insurance plan. 3.1 million young adults have coverage on a parent’s plan through age 26. More than 50,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions have gained coverage through the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
Stronger Medicare: Nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities rely on Medicare each year, and the new health care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, and improving care for patients. The life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended to at least 2024 as a result of reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare. And, over the next ten years, the law will save the average person in Medicare $4,200. People with Medicare who have the prescription drug costs that hit the so-called donut hole will save an average of over $16,000.
3.6 million people received a 50% discount—worth an average of $604 each—on brand name prescription drugs after hitting the Medicare donut hole in 2011. More than 32.5 million seniors received one or more free preventive services. The average person with Medicare will save about $4,200 from 2011 to 2021. Those with high prescription costs will save up to $16,000.
For more information, visit www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform
A comprehensive, concise summary of the Affordable Care Act is provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation. http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/8061-021.pdf