Amid wide misunderstanding, misinformation, lack of knowledge, and fierce opposition to the provisions of the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ACA) even on the second anniversary of the law’s enactment on March 23, 2010, the Barack Obama administration through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is still trying to inform the American public of the law’s benefits currently in effect. In a statement released on March 23, marking the law’s second anniversary, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius listed the law’s achievements thus far. She called the ACA “the law that gives hard working, middle-class families the security they deserve. It’s only been two years, but we’re already seeing that the law is making a difference in the lives of Americans,” as noted below.
Seniors. Recent data shows that more than 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare saved more than $3.2 billion on prescription drugs due to the ACA. The HHS estimated that this equals about $635 per person in average savings.
Women. Because of the ACA, 45.1 million women—including 20.4 million women with private health insurance and 24.7 million women with Medicare—can receive recommended preventive services without having to pay a copayment or deductible. Preventive services, such as mammograms or Pap smears, are covered free of charge to insured individuals.
Young adults. As a result of the ACA, 2.5 million young people ages 19 to 26 have health insurance coverage through their parent’s plans.
Lowering premiums and costs. Insurance companies can no longer raise premiums by double digits without justification. In addition, the ACA requires that premium dollars must be spent primarily on health care, not administrative costs like overhead or executive salaries. So far, an estimated 74.8 million people have been protected by this new requirement, HHS claims.
Individuals with pre-existing conditions. Nearly 49,000 individuals have enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, and it is now illegal for children under 19 to be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. The ACA also eliminated lifetime dollar limits on coverage for over 105 million Americans.
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