It’s almost impossible to turn on the news these days without hearing about Obamacare or its official title, the Affordable Care Act. Between those declaring it to be the worst thing since Hitler and those singing its praises, it can be very difficult to understand exactly what Obamacare is and what its benefits are. What are the benefits of Obamacare and how is it different from what’s already available? What will happen if Obamacare is repealed? Those are very important questions and below are some of the answers you need to understand the real benefits of Obamacare and what will happen if it is successfully repealed.
One of the most important benefits of Obamacare, one that has the potential to affect everyone at some point in life, is the guaranteed health insurance for those who have a pre-existing condition. Laws prior to Obamacare prohibited insurance companies from denying health insurance for a pre-existing condition if a new policy was obtained within 90 days of a previous policy. Unfortunately, with millions of people losing their jobs and being out of work for months, people who have had insurance in the past suddenly found themselves being denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Obamacare puts an end to that, guaranteeing that everyone will have an equal opportunity to obtain health insurance regardless of past medical history.
Another valuable benefit of Obamacare that has provided insurance to millions of people is the provision that allows children to remain on their parent’s insurance up to the age of twenty-six. For parents of college-aged children, this provides peace of mind, knowing their kids can go off to college without worrying about personally taking care of their health care costs.
Obamacare currently :
- Regulates annual maximums, and by 2014 will eliminate lifetime maximums, for essential benefits, such as hospital stays, guaranteeing that you won’t spend years paying health insurance premiums only to run out of coverage and get stuck with enormous medical bills if you have an accident or if you develop cancer or some other devastating medical condition.
- Obamacare also prevents insurance companies from using technicalities to drop coverage for people who develop expensive medical conditions, essentially leaving them stuck with medical care costs they believed would be covered.
- It requires insurance companies to provide preventative services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, without charging co-pays or deductibles.
- It provides prescription drug discounts for seniors who reach the coverage gap in Medicare Part D.
- It provides free preventative care, such as wellness visits, for seniors.
- It regulates insurance companies and prevents them from implementing large, unjustified rate hikes.
- It encourages control of administrative costs by requiring insurance companies to use 80- to 85-percent of premiums for health care costs or provide rebates to consumers for the excess premiums.
- It expands Medicaid for low-income individuals and families
- It provides tax credits to small businesses to encourage them to provide or continue providing health insurance to employees.
Obamacare has already made many improvements in the quality and availability of health insurance and these improvements have benefited millions of Americans. Over the next few years, there are many more benefits that will go into effect. These provisions will work to bring down health care costs, improve coverage, and ensure that patients get the quality care they deserve without taking away their choices.
If Obamacare is repealed, millions of people would immediately lose their insurance coverage as college kids were dropped from their parents’ health insurance plans and insurance companies dropped coverage for people with high-cost medical conditions and pre-existing medical conditions. The loss of cost controls would also allow premium rates and other health care costs to rise and seniors would lose the preventative care and drug discounts they desperately need and cannot afford on their own.
Many people who are convinced that Obamacare should be repealed, believe so because they think that Obamacare represents a government takeover of health care and that it will result in a loss of choices and a reduction in the quality of their health care. In fact, the real truth is the exact opposite. Obamacare does not eliminate choices. Instead, it forces health insurance companies to provide the health care they have been paid to provide and it provides choices to people with pre-existing conditions who, until now, had no choices at all.
No one should ever have to worry that an accident or illness will strip away everything they’ve worked for. With Obamacare, they don’t have to. Obamacare takes the choices and control away from insurance companies and places it back where it belongs, in the hands of patients and their doctors.
photo credit: Barack Obama via photopin cc