The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, was passed in 2010. This law provided more health insurance options and access to medical care for Americans.
It has had numerous beneficial effects on individuals. It has reduced the number of uninsured, eliminated discrimination against people with preexisting conditions and prevented insurers from charging women more for their insurance than men do.
1. More People Have Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act has enabled millions of individuals to gain health insurance. It did this by expanding Medicaid and offering tax credits for purchasing individual market plans through federal Marketplaces, or Exchanges.
The Affordable Care Act also eliminated copayments and deductibles for preventive services like cancer screenings, cholesterol tests, blood pressure checks and immunizations. These lower costs help consumers ward off serious health problems as well as ultimately result in fewer out-of-pocket expenses in the long run.
Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act holds private insurance companies accountable for charging fair premiums by requiring them to dedicate at least 80 percent of their profits towards medical care and quality improvements rather than advertising, overhead or bonuses for executives. In 2019, insurers returned $1.37 billion in Medical Loss Ratio Rebates (MLRs) to Americans who had overpaid for their policies.
2. More People Have Access to Preventive Care
One of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was its requirement that almost all private and public health plans cover a list of “essential health benefits,” including preventive care. These services have been proven to save lives and improve healthcare outcomes.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many people without health insurance were left without coverage or limited access to preventive services like screenings for cancers, blood pressure and cholesterol. With ACA in place, most health plans now cover these services without cost sharing from patients.
This has enabled many to access preventive healthcare, leading to improved health outcomes. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act protects people from discrimination by making it illegal for insurers to charge more or deny coverage due to preexisting conditions.
3. More People Have Access to Mental Health Care
Ten years after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more Americans have access to mental health services than ever before. Yet many still face obstacles in receiving these services.
Mental health is a complex topic, affecting individuals’ emotions, psychological wellbeing and relationships with others. It also shapes how they cope with stress, manage social interactions and make decisions.
4. More People Have Access to Dental Care
The Affordable Care Act opened up access to dental care, making it more accessible. Regular checkups and treatment to prevent tooth decay and gum disease are essential for good oral hygiene, yet many people struggle with not having enough money for necessary treatments. With access to affordable options like Medicaid and private health insurance plans, more people than ever before are taking advantage of preventative dental care.
The law also expanded access to preventive oral health services like fluoride and sealants for children and adults without insurance, by authorizing states to permit nontraditional providers such as primary care physicians, pharmacists, community health workers, and social workers to provide such care.
Despite statutory coverage in Europe, people face numerous barriers to receiving dental care that prevent them from accessing necessary services and paying out-of-pocket (OOP). Some countries lack sufficient statutory coverage while others limit services to specific treatments or age groups.
5. More People Have Access to Eye Care
The Affordable Care Act made it easier for more people to access eye care. It abolished pre-existing condition discrimination and created a Patient’s Bill of Rights that safeguarded you against insurance companies that might deny coverage or charge more due to your health status.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2.2 billion people suffer from vision impairment and 1 billion do not have access to adequate care. This rate is four times higher in low-income countries and more common among women, elderly individuals, ethnic minorities, the disabled and indigenous populations – particularly rural areas.
The WHO report highlighted that the primary challenge lies in increasing access to high-quality eye care services across all regions, especially low-income and less developed nations. To accomplish this goal, universal health care must be expanded and integrated people-centered eye care (IPEC) implemented.