Ten years since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, its implementation continues to come under attack from both Congress and other sources. A Supreme Court challenge and presidential campaign which promises repeal are among them.
However, its positive impacts on the economy, job creation and public health have been readily evident. On its anniversary we take a closer look at its contributions to both present day Americans and future generations alike.
It has made insurance more affordable
The Affordable Care Act has helped make health insurance more accessible by restructuring the individual market and expanding Medicaid, covering low-income Americans. Furthermore, tax credits provide tax credits that lower premium costs for people who can’t afford coverage.
Law also requires insurance companies to disclose how much of their budget they allocate towards medical care versus administration, giving consumers an easy way to compare plans and assess whether they’re getting good value for their money.
In addition to lowering insurance costs, the Affordable Care Act has also significantly decreased the percentage of uninsured people in America – before its passage, approximately 15 percent had no coverage in this country.
But under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), uninsurance has dropped to just 8.5% – meaning an estimated 18 million more people now have access to health coverage.
However, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t managed to prevent rapidly rising health care costs for all Americans. Since 2003, inflation-adjusted spending per person on health care has increased from 1.7 percent to 2.1 percent annually.
This trend can be partially explained by the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA), which has introduced costly mandates and regulations onto the individual health insurance market and replaced private markets with government-run marketplaces for buying insurance. As of first quarter 2019, only 5.5 million individuals had self-enrolled into coverage without receiving federal subsidies.
It has made health care more accessible
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, has made obtaining health insurance easier for many Americans. It altered how insurance companies sell policies while expanding coverage through Medicaid – a government program covering low-income individuals.
Millions of uninsured Americans gained coverage thanks to laws. These included restrictions against discriminatory insurer practices and protections for people with preexisting conditions.
Many of these changes made it less expensive to buy insurance, with premiums for most plans on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces – which launched in fall 2013 – being reduced for more than 9 out of 10 individuals who qualified for financial aid.
Tax credits do not provide relief for all, so the Affordable Care Act offers cost-cutting measures such as free screenings and preventive services with low copays or deductibles for those not qualifying for tax credits. This has increased people’s likelihood of seeing their primary care doctor regularly and reduced hospitalizations rates as well as decreasing overall healthcare cost increases.
The Affordable Care Act has also made prescription drugs more accessible to Americans. Every year, more prescriptions have been covered under its auspices, with Medicare beneficiaries saving an estimated total of over $26.8 billion on prescriptions under this law (according to a press release by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2017). Furthermore, health insurance providers now require less costly policies from insurers in order to offer coverage – an incredible feat in itself!
It has made health care more affordable for seniors
Before the implementation of Obamacare, many seniors could not find affordable health insurance and were often forced to go without care. With its provisions that made insurance more cost-effective for people living with health conditions and increased screening procedures, ACA made healthcare more accessible for those who needed it the most.
Obamacare has also made health care more affordable by improving quality insurance. Under ACA requirements, health insurers must spend at least 80% of their premiums directly towards providing you with medical care, as well as covering more screening procedures.
The new law also lowers prescription drug costs for seniors. Medicare beneficiaries who fall within the “donut hole”, or lowest cost drug category, pay reduced prices each year on brand name and generic drugs.
Over 9.4 million seniors have saved over $15 billion on prescription drug costs since the Affordable Care Act’s passage – that equates to an average savings of approximately $1,598 per person.
Seniors have seen benefits of the Affordable Care Act’s lower-cost prescription drug programs as they save on their deductibles and copays, with the Affordable Care Act providing $5 billion in financial assistance to employers to help retirees maintain health coverage through private plans or employer sponsored plans.
Individuals unable to afford private coverage can still obtain affordable options through a government-run exchange that provides affordable options. Tax credits will assist lower income Americans pay for insurance premiums; and Medicaid will expand in certain states so low-income people have access to essentially free healthcare coverage.