By Sean Rogers, MD – Medical Director / Internal Medicine
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get questions from my patients about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Also known as the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, or the HealthCare Reform Act, the PPACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and is highly complex. More than 2500 pages of legalese is not an easy read! There has been a lot of negative press about the Affordable Care Act, but I believe that most of it is due to lack of understanding of the benefits.
Patient anxiety and poor comprehension of the Affordable Care Act is certainly understandable. In this post, I will try to explain some of the main tenets of the law and the subsequent benefits to patients. Hopefully, it will allay some of the anxiety that people are feeling about this transformative piece of legislation.
First, let me address one of the main concerns that I consistently hear from my Medicare-aged patients. The Affordable Care Act will not lead to any reduction in coverage of services for Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Affordable Care Act contains no plans to change existing benefits to current Medicare beneficiaries.
A few of the main benefits of PPACA are listed below.
- Elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions
- Elimination of coverage rescissions (i.e. the ability of a health insurance plan to cancel your coverage based solely on your medical conditions)
- Elimination of life-time benefit limits
- Expanded coverage for dependents to age 26
- Expanded coverage for the poor through Medicaid and premium assistance for those between 138 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level
- Expanded coverage for preventative care services like immunizations, mammograms, colonoscopies, and more.
- Transparency and competition on price and quality of care
- The formation of state-run Health Insurance Exchanges which are designed to offer low-cost coverage to those people who previously had no ability to afford health insurance
Each of these points represents a very real and substantive benefit to patients. Taken together, they are nothing less than transformative for our healthcare system.
For a more detailed summary of the Affordable Care Act, click on the link below: