The Affordable Care Act
For the first time in America’s history, all Americans will have access to quality, affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21, 2010. The legislation will protect Americans from the worst insurance industry practices, offer the uninsured and small businesses the opportunity to obtain affordable health care plans.
The health insurance reform package combines the best ideas from all sides of the debate, capping a year-long transparent legislative effort. It delivers on President Obama’s key goals for health reform of slowing the growth of health costs, creating competition in the health insurance marketplace, and keeping insurers honest. It will protect people’s choices of doctors and health plans, and guarantee that every American can access quality, stable, and affordable health insurance coverage. It will rein-in the worst insurance company abuses, such as discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, policy rescissions when patients are in the middle of treatment, or insurance rate hikes without justification. Many of these protections have already kicked in. Because of the Affordable Care Act:
- If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents' health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own.
- If you an eligible small businesses, you may be able to receive tax credits if you choose to offer coverage to your employees through the small business marketplace - covering up to 50% of the cost of coverage.
- If you are a child under age 19, you can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company for having a “pre-existing condition.”
- Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage. Such limits have caused some families to declare bankruptcy.
- If you are a senior, you will now be receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs if you enter the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole' coverage gap - a discount that grows until the ‘donut hole' is closed.
- You can no longer be dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick .
- Your insurance company can no longer place restrictive annual limits on your coverage - with annual limits completely eliminated in January 2014.
- If you are in a new plan, you now have free coverage of key preventive services, such as immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings.
- Your insurance company must now spend at least 80 percent of premiums on covering medical services - rather than administrative expenses, CEO pay, and profits.
- Your insurance company must now publish on the Internet detailed justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent.