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The Affordable Care Act at Two Years
03:29 PM EDT
Two years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, giving hardworking, middle-class families the health care security they deserve. Health reform requires that insurance plans cover preventive services to help people stay healthy, prohibits insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy because of annual or lifetime limits placed on care, and discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.
By 2014 when the law is fully implemented, people will be able to purchase private insurance coverage through new state-based markets called exchanges, which will offer a way to get insurance that isn’t provided by—or tied to—an employer. Americans will have the security of knowing they don't have to worry about losing or finding coverage if they're laid off, change jobs, or are self-employed. And further patient protections will take effect: insurers won’t be able to deny care to anyone based on a pre-existing condition, or limit the amount of care they’ll cover over a person’s lifetime.
Over the last week, we’ve looked at many of the ways the new health care law is making a real difference in many people's lives:
- New tax credits are helping small business owners like Mark with the cost of providing health insurance for employees
- Because young adults can now stay on their parents' insurance until age 26, people like Steven, a 23-year-old, two-time cancer survivor, can continue getting the care they need, even if they are no longer in school
- Parents like Vanessa, whose son was born with birth defects, and Nathan, whose son has hemophilia, won’t have to fight to keep their kids healthy because insurance companies are now prohibited from denying coverage for children with pre-existing conditions or placing lifetime limits on care,
- Seniors like Helen are getting help with the cost of their medications, giving them peace of mind and putting more money in their pockets
Looking at the big picture also helps tell the story of how the Affordable Care Act is benefitting people around the country.
- An additional 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage since September 2010 (More on the health care law and young adults)
- Nearly 54 million Americans with private health insurance, including approximately 20.4 million women have received preventive health services such as cancer screenings and immunizations at no additional cost (learn more about the health care law and preventive services and health care law and women)
- The average senior on Medicare will save $4,200 on their health care by 2021, and more than 5.1 million people on Medicare have already saved an average of $635 each on prescription drug costs (read more on the health care law, seniors, and Medicare)
- Families and small business are saving money on health care, and families who purchase private health insurance through exchanges that begin in 2014 could save up to $2,300 on their health care each year (learn more on the health care law and cost control)
For more stories and facts about how the Affordable Care Act is helping people around the country, check out our map. You can share your own story, too: tell us how health reform is improving your care.