Health Care Blog
- Posted byon January 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT
For years, health care costs in America skyrocketed, with brutal consequences for our country. Escalating costs hurt our economy, eating into workers’ wages and holding back hiring. They contributed to our deficits, and crowded out crucial investments like education and maintaining a world-class infrastructure. And they've taken money directly out of consumers' pockets, with Americans paying far higher health care prices than others around the world for no better outcomes.
The Affordable Care Act, for the first time in decades, has helped to stop that trend.
New data released today by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today shows that national health expenditures grew by just 3.7 percent in 2012. That means that the years 2009 to 2012 saw the slowest growth in U.S. health care expenditures since the government started collecting this information in the 1960s.
- Posted byon January 1, 2014 at 2:15 PM EDT
Today is a new day for the millions of Americans who finally have the security that comes from quality, affordable health coverage. And those who already have health insurance will have better, more reliable coverage than ever before. From now on, insured Americans won't be forced to put off a check-up or worry about going broke if they get sick.
While there is much more work to be done, beginning today, no family will be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure or asthma. Women can no longer be charged more than men for the same coverage. No American will have to worry that losing a job means you can't get health coverage. And small businesses may qualify for more financial help to pay for new affordable coverage options for their employees.
The challenges in our health care system were decades in the making and won't be solved overnight, but now more than 6 million Americans have been enrolled in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage and are getting peace of mind, knowing that they can get the care they need without losing everything they've worked and saved for.
New Benefits and Consumer Protections Begin Today
- Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions: Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status.
- New Insurance Options: Many previously uninsured Americans have new health insurance options through private health plans in the Marketplace or Medicaid in States that have opted to expand it. Nearly 6 in 10 of Americans who were uninsured could pay $100 or less per month for coverage.
- No More Annual Caps on Health Benefits: Millions of Americans no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach an annual dollar limit on benefits.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Health plans in the individual and small group markets are now required to cover ten categories of essential health benefits – including emergency services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, and prescription drug coverage. As a result of these new protections, approximately 60 million people will gain expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and/or parity protections.
- Posted byon January 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM EDT
As we ring in the start of 2014, today millions of Americans across the country will finally have the security and peace of mind that comes from having quality, affordable health insurance coverage. Today is the first day that coverage kicks in for more than 6 million people who purchased private health insurance plans through the Marketplaces, or signed up for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
One of those Americans is Trinace Edwards, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after being laid off and losing her insurance. Unable to work or afford private insurance, she has not received treatment. Her daughter Lenace, a student at the University of Maryland, had considered dropping out of school in order to help pay for her mother’s bills.
When Trinace began shopping for coverage after the Health Insurance Marketplace opened, she learned she would be eligible for coverage through Medicaid. Starting today, Trinace can get the health care she needs, without forcing her daughter to give up on her dreams.
In October, President Obama met with a group of Americans – including Trinace and Lenace – who are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. Watch what the mother and daughter had to say to him about what the law means for their family.
- Posted byon December 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from hhs.gov/healthcare. See the original post here.
January 1 marks not only the beginning of a New Year, but an exciting new day in health care as millions of Americans will now be able to access care, thanks to the coverage they found at the Health Insurance Marketplace. For many of the newly insured – people like Molly from Charlottesville, VA or Mark from Austin, TX - it will be the first time that they can enjoy the security that comes with health coverage.
For consumers whose Marketplace coverage begins on January 1, we're doing everything we can to help ensure a smooth transition period. If consumers have questions about their new private insurance coverage, they can contact their insurance company directly. Consumers can log into their account on HealthCare.gov to find their insurer’s customer service line or browse through a directory on HealthCare.gov.
Before you go to the doctor or pharmacy using your new insurance for the first time, check out this tip sheet, and make sure to:
- Get your insurance card or a temporary card with your new plan’s information. If you don’t have your card yet, ask your insurance company to give you another way to confirm your coverage.
- Make sure you know when your first premium payment is due and pay it by the due date;
- Check to see which doctors and pharmacies are in your network.
And at your first visit:
- Bring your insurance card with you to the doctor or pharmacy. If you don’t have a card, ask your doctor or pharmacy what other proof of insurance they may accept.
- If you thought you enrolled in health coverage but aren’t showing up in the system, call your insurance company directly. If you don’t have your insurer’s contact information call the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596) and a trained representative can provide it to you.
- Posted byon December 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
Ten years ago, skyrocketing premiums forced Nancy Beigel to choose between paying rent and paying for health insurance. She dropped her coverage and has been uninsured since then.
When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, a doctor told her it would be nearly impossible to find new coverage, since she now had a pre-existing condition. She pays out of pocket for her health care, but has many medical bills she can’t afford to pay off.
Nancy shared her story with President Obama, and told him she’d been “counting the days” until she could buy coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where insurance companies couldn't turn her down due to her pre-existing condition. See what else she had to say in the video below, or watch on YouTube.
- Posted byon December 20, 2013 at 8:02 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama held his last press conference of the year from the White House briefing room. Before taking questions from the media, he discussed our economic progress over the last year, and laid out the work ahead for 2014.
In 2013, our businesses created another 2 million jobs, adding up to more than 8 million in just over the past 45 months. This morning, we learned that over the summer, our economy grew at its strongest pace in nearly two years. The unemployment rate has steadily fallen to its lowest point in five years. Our tax code is fairer, and our fiscal situation is firmer, with deficits that are now less than half of what they were when I took office. For the first time in nearly two decades, we now produce more oil here at home than we buy from the rest of the world, and our all-of-the-above strategy for new American energy means lower energy costs.
The Affordable Care Act has helped keep health care costs growing at their slowest rate in 50 years, and even as the Administration works diligently to address issues with HealthCare.gov, more than one million Americans have selected new health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces since October 1. "More than half a million Americans have enrolled through healthcare.gov in the first three weeks of December alone," President Obama said.
"And you add that all up and what it means is we head into next year with an economy that’s stronger than it was when we started the year," he said. "More Americans are finding work and experiencing the pride of a paycheck. Our businesses are positioned for new growth and new jobs."
"I firmly believe that 2014 can be a breakthrough year for America," President Obama said, offering some proof that the new year is already off to a good start: this week, for the first time in several years, both parties in both houses of Congress came together to pass a budget. And there are other areas where we can work together, he said, beginning with restoring the temporary unemployment insurance that helps people make ends meet when they are looking for a job.
"Because Congress didn’t act, more than one million of their constituents will lose a vital economic lifeline at Christmastime, leaving a lot of job-seekers without any source of income at all," he said. "I know a bipartisan group is working on a three-month extension of this insurance. They should pass it, and I’ll sign it right away."