Since Obama Care, or the Affordable Care Act, has gone into effect, the health care and health insurance industries have changed dramatically. For starters, Obama Care has reduced the number of uninsured Americans. In 2010, 49.9 million people in the United States lacked health insurance coverage. Since then, 10 million more people are now insured thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
How else has Obama Care changed the health care landscape?
You Can’t Be Denied Coverage Because of a Pre-Existing or Current Condition
Prior to the ACA, health insurance companies could deny you coverage or charge you more if you had a current or pre-existing medical condition.
As of 2014, no insurance company can deny you coverage or charge you more based on a pre-existing or current health condition.
Free Preventative Care
Before Obama Care, only a small percentage of employers and health insurance providers were offering wellness programs that offered free health screenings. The high out-of-pocket expenses for most other Americans kept them away from preventative care.
As of 2010, all health plans must offer a variety of in-network preventative care services and treatments to both adults and children. These must come at no out-of-pocket costs, such as co-insurance, deductibles or copays.
Children Can Stay on a Parent’s Policy until the Age of 26
Prior to the ACA, children were usually removed from a parent’s health insurance policy once they reached the ages of 18-21.
Now, children can stay on a parent’s policy until they reach the age of 26. Kids can remain on the policy even if they are financially dependent, married or eligible for coverage through their employer. Some plans will also now cover maternity for young dependent women, although they are not required by law to do so.
Private Insurers Must Give You a Reason for Denying Claims
At one time, insurance companies could refuse to pay for treatments for serious illnesses that fell into experimental or unproven gray areas. Insurers were not required to give a reason for refusal of payment. Although some states had consumer protections for these instances, many did not.
Today, private insurers must give you a reason for denying your claim, and they must tell you the steps you can take to appeal their decision. If the insurer still denies your claim after an internal review, you can opt for an external review from an independent organization who can overturn the decision.
Since its implementation, the Affordable Care Act has helped 10 million Americans gain vital health care coverage and several initiatives have been put into place to protect consumers. Millions of Americans now have access to health care and coverage that they did not have access to before.