On March 23, 2009 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) became law. This law is expanding health coverage to millions of Americans.
Obamacare is …
… decreasing the costs of health care and insurance to consumers;
… improving the quality of health care services;
….and increasing access to health care for Americans without it.
And it only gets better! Some provisions of Obamacare were implemented immediately, while others are implementing incrementally through 2014. Want to see a timeline of all the things Obamacare is doing and will do? Click here.
Thanks Obamacare for doing all these great things:
- Improving private market reforms including ending lifetime and most annual limits for health insurance coverage, increasing transparency about how insurers use consumer's premium dollars and eliminating discrimination by insurers based on an individual's pre-existing conditions.
- Strengthening the U.S. safety-net and public health benefits programs, including investments in primary care provider training and placements, expansion of public health coverage to more low-income Americans and investments in community health centers.
- Creating new insurance marketplaces in each state, known as Exchanges. These competitive marketplaces will provide individuals and small businesses protections when buying their insurance, including defining what services plans have to cover so people can make an apples-to-apples comparison of plans when shopping. The exchanges will also help lower and middle class Americans without insurance cover the costs of their insurance with federal subsidies.
- Helping young adults access health insurance coverage by allowing them to stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26. Five hundred thousand more young adults have health insurance coverage because of this provision as of September 2011.
- Investing in projects and programs to reduce wasteful spending and fraud in the nation's public programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.
- Providing help to small businesses with lower income employees in the form of a tax credit for those who provide insurance to their employees.
- Decreasing costs to seniors on Medicare by closing the prescription drug coverage gap (known as the "Doughnut Hole") by 2012. Also decreases costs by reducing prescription drug costs in general for seniors.
10 Reasons to Thank Obamacare
In 2014, Americans will have access to the same health care choices as Members of Congress. Individuals will be able to purchase insurance through Affordable Insurance Exchanges (competitive marketplaces where people will be able to compare plans and make the choices best for them). Members of Congress will also get their coverage through the exchanges.
Thanks to Obamacare, young adults are now allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26 years old.
Obamacare provides consumers with the ability to appeal claim denials with insurance companies. In addition, Obamacare allows states to require insurance companies to justify premium increases.
On January 1, 2014 Obamacare will eliminate the ability of insurance companies to charge higher rates due to gender in the individual and small group market.
In 2014, Obamacare will prohibit insurance companies from refusing to renew policies because of a person’s pre-existing conditions.
Obamacare requires restaurants with 20+ locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on menus. Total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein have to be made available in writing upon request.
In 2010, Obamacare made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to children under the age of 19 based on a pre-existing condition. In 2014, insurance companies cannot refuse to sell coverage or renew policies to anyone based on a pre-existing condition.
All new plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance. Women’s Preventive Services – including well-woman visits, support for breastfeeding equipment, contraception and domestic violence screening – will be covered without cost sharing in new health plans starting in August 2012.
Obamacare prohibits lifetime limits (A cap on the total lifetime benefits you may get from your insurance company) on most benefits in any health plan or insurance policy issued or renewed on or after September 23, 2010. In 2014, Obamacare prohibits new plans and existing group plans from imposing annual dollar limits (a cap on the benefits your insurance company will pay in a year) on the amount of coverage an individual may receive.
Thanks to Obamacare, small businesses are now eligible for tax credits for providing insurance to their workers. In 2014, the tax credits increase.