Here are the key elements of the Affordable Care Act:
- Everyone can now buy coverage, even those with pre-existing conditions.
- Medicaid in states (like Illinois) that opted to expand it, now covers very low-income people who have not been covered before, in particular, non-disabled adults without children.
- Insurance companies are no longer able to drop people when they get sick.
- Insurance companies are now required to provide free preventive services.
- Your premiums can no longer be based on your gender or health condition.
- Small businesses can get tax credits to help secure coverage for their employees.
- Individuals and small businesses have more choices and improved quality when shopping for insurance through a new competitive health insurance marketplace, Get Covered Illinois.
Building on ACA Success
The Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period has ended with the successful signup of 7 million Americans. As we turn to helping people successfully use their new coverage, we must also build on that momentum and apply action to the lessons learned, to prepare for November 15.
This report from Families USA highlights 10 key steps to improving enrollment in the health insurance marketplace by strengthening the enrollment process and by making health insurance affordable to more people. See the summary at Families USA or read the full report.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you think could be done better in Illinois next time around.
Myths & Facts
MYTH: “ACA plans are not affordable”
FACT: The ACA makes health insurance more affordable by providing financial assistance based on income. Four out of five people who bought a plan on the marketplace received financial assistance, in the form of tax credits and cost sharing subsidies. The law also protects consumers from high costs by placing caps on consumer out-of-pocket spending.
MYTH: “Because of the ACA I’m going to lose Medicare benefits”
FACT: Medicare benefits will not be altered or cut due to the ACA. No Medicare money is being transferred to the ACA. The projections of reduced Medicare spending are based on cost-saving reforms in Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals. No cuts are being made to benefits. In fact, the ACA adds new benefits for seniors, including an annual wellness visit; and it will gradually eliminate the gap in coverage for prescription drugs.
MYTH: “People are losing good insurance plans because of the ACA”
FACT: The Affordable Care Act outlawed plans that did not provide a minimum level of coverage. Such plans seemed like a bargain because of the low monthly premiums, but if the patient had a serious illness or injury, the plan would only pay a tiny fraction of the cost, leaving them at risk for bankruptcy. Medical bills account for more than half of all U.S. bankruptcies.
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