The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. Some aspects of the law were implemented immediately and some will be phased in over time, through 2014. Here are some important provisions of the law:
- Insurance companies are now required to justify rate hikes, and consumers have the ability to appeal to an independent third party when insurance companies refuse to cover services or care.
- The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) provides insurance to people with health conditions who have been uninsured for six months, helping those with cancer or other serious conditions to get the treatment they need.
- ACA eliminates insurance companies' ability to place annual and lifetime caps on coverage and cancel insurance when individuals need it most, such as expensive cancer treatments or traumatic injuries like automotive accidents.
- The law provides for zero out-of-pocket costs for preventive care like mammograms, colonoscopies, well-woman check-ups, prostate exams, and immunizations when services are received from in-network providers.
- Young adults are now eligible to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans as they enter the workforce, until they turn 26.
- Starting in 2014, all Americans will have access to affordable health insurance no matter their circumstances—whether they change jobs, lose their job, decide to start a business, or retire early.
Before the ACA, individuals who had no health insurance used the services and resources of emergency rooms to treat conditions such as sore throat and other minor illnesses. As a result, the astronomical cost of providing this high-level of care to the millions of uninsured in this country has resulted in higher premiums, higher health care co-pays, limited coverage, but ironically higher profits for insurance companies.
The ACA focuses on preventive care that allows individuals to have a peace-of-mind about managing their health so they can focus on work, family, and other important liberties!