Health Care Blog
- Posted byon January 9, 2014 at 12:31 PM EDT
January 1 marked a new day in health care for millions of families and individuals throughout the country. For the millions of Americans who signed up for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, they now have the security and peace of mind that comes with access to quality and affordable health coverage. From now on, insured Americans won't be forced to put off a check-up or worry about going broke if they get sick. And for those who already have insurance, additional protections and benefits kicked in thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Now, it is against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage or charge you more because of a pre-existing medical condition. And they will no longer be able to drop you from coverage just because you get sick or get into an accident. Most plans must cover preventive services like cholesterol and cancer screenings, at no out-of-pocket cost. Better access to prevention and wellness services is important for reducing health disparities among Latinos who suffer from high rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
Andrew Santiago is one of the 10.2 million Latinos who stand to benefit from the new protections provided by the Affordable Care Act. Andrew is a comedy writer from Brooklyn who works freelance jobs in television production. Andrew signed up for coverage under the Health Insurance Marketplace and qualified for a tax credit that allows him to purchase medical and dental insurance for only $87 a month. Andrew received enrollment assistance from the Hispanic Federation, one of the organizations working to ensure that Latinos across New York, New Jersey and Florida have access to quality and affordable coverage.
This Is The Affordable Care Act: Giving Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Access to Free Chemoprevention MedicationPosted byon January 9, 2014 at 12:30 PM EDT
More than 20 years ago, my personal involvement in the fight against breast cancer started after four of my friends were diagnosed with the disease in the same year. After one of those friends lost her battle, I saw just what a ruthless adversary breast cancer could be. Far too many of us have lost a loved one to breast cancer or seen a colleague or friend endure painful treatments to fight the disease.
That is why I am so pleased that today the Administration is making clear that most health insurance plans must soon cover chemoprevention medications like tamoxifen and raloxifene that can reduce the risk of breast cancer for women who have an increased chance of developing the disease. In addition, these health plans will have to cover the medications at no cost to these women.
Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer face many questions. Now, if their doctor recommends that the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks, one question women across the country won’t have to ask is whether they can afford it.
This is just one more way the Affordable Care Act is helping fight breast cancer. Already, the ACA ensures that about 47 million women have access to free mammograms every year or two, that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or increase premiums due to pre-existing conditions like breast cancer, and new health plans can no longer set an annual or lifetime cap on someone’s health insurance benefits – meaning women diagnosed with breast cancer will not max out their insurance benefits while seeking treatment.
- 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.