On December 4, I was invited to a White House Youth Summit to share what I’ve learned about the Affordable CareAct (ACA) with you, the readers of my blog! It was an amazing experience both personally and professionally. I learned so much that day about the ACA but here are two of the biggest things President Obama wanted me to share. Yes, the President did talk directly to me. J
ACA is about providing quality care to everyone. For those of us who are currently covered by health insurance, there are minimum standards regarding coverage, costs and care all plans will have to meet. For those of us who aren’t covered, it’s expanding coverage to help everyone get coverage.
One of the questions that my friends with employer-provided coverage have asked is, “Why is the cost of my plan going up but I’m getting less?” So I asked this question of the Administration. The true story is that it’s not. You’re getting a different plan that’s more than likely more comprehensive. A small difference you’ll see is that you will not pay for most preventive care appointments. For most of us, a big difference that we’ll never see is having a traumatic event like a rare cancer or brain injury, so we’ll never see the lifetime maximums on a plan. It’s a vague thing that we know kind of existed but you don’t worry about it. The good news is that is one of the new things that has changed under the minimum standards of ACA. There are no lifetime maximums, so that’s why you’re seeing a new cost.
ACA is also includes benefits such as allowing young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ plans and removing limits for pre-existing conditions clauses in employer-provided and individually-purchased plans. Both of these are things I’ve experienced personally, so it’s definitely going to benefit my family.
Another question I have heard people ask is, “Why should my plan change to help cover people who aren’t doing their share to get coverage on their own at either a job or by just buying it?” So the true story here is that you already have been if you know it or not. For every uninsured persons visit to a hospital that they aren’t able to pay for, your tax dollars are paying in the form of Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) programs. DSH funds come directly from the Medicaid/Medicare budget and they provide hospitals with reimbursement equal to a percentage of the costs of treating uninsured persons. Not every hospital gets them but most do and I promise that your tax dollars are being used to support this program. I know this is a way oversimplication of the DSH program but I will be glad to share more about it with you if you’d like. That concentration in Health Policy comes in handy here. J
The other big thing: Healthcare.gov is working!
If you have family/friends who aren’t covered (i.e. an entrepreneurial 28 year old sibling), let them know how easy it is to sign up and sign them up right away. The average cost of a plan for someone under 35 is less than $100 a month. There are all sorts of different options on the type of plan that’s right for you and your family. One of the things that I learned is while each plan has to meet the minimum standards, there are so many different options in what plan you choose.
This is really just a small bit of what I learned that day. I would really encourage you to learn more about the ACA for yourself. It’s a law that really has changed and defined the landscape of our country. One small change that might become a big one: people will no longer have to stay at an employer to keep coverage, it’ll allow for more small businesses to be created.
The first place to start learning more is by looking at Healthcare.gov. Not only can you get coverage there but it also has this great summary of the law “How does the health car law protect me?”. You can find it here at: https://www.healthcare.gov/how-does-the-health-care-law-protect-me/
Overall, it was a great day and I was so honored that I was invited/selected to attend. I learned so much and had the opportunity to meet some great people (I didn’t even share the other parts of the day with you!) We spent the whole day working and it was dark by the time I left.