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Affordable Care Act Stands

By on June 30, 2012

With baited breath and political tension so thick you could cut it with a chain saw, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act. But this means every state must now begin to implement its provisions to be compliant with the law. It also means that most Americans will soon learn more about what the new law is all about, recent polling suggested 46% liked the law and just as many were not in favor, yet overwhelmingly Americans say they don’t quite understand it fully.

Here are just a few critical FACTS about the Affordable Care Act.

  • Insurance companies can’t cancel your coverage just because you made an error on your application.
  • You have the right to choose the doctor you want from your plan’s network or seek emergency care at a hospital outside of your health plan’s network.
  • If you have been rejected for insurance due to a health condition or disability, you may be eligible for coverage through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
  • The health care law cracks down on waste, fraud, and abuse while providing new protections for seniors.
  • You may be eligible to receive recommended preventive health services at no cost.
  • If you are under 26, you may be eligible for health insurance coverage under your parent’s plan.

The law also requires each state to set up a new “health exchanges,” essentially an insurance marketplace by 2014 so individuals can purchase coverage. This is no small task because states have to build new technologies that can sort out who is eligible for what program, and they have to do it in real-time. Some liken it to online shopping for health insurance. What is interesting is that while some state officials have done nothing to prepare once the law was originally passed, some have indeed begun the heavy lifting. And  if by the end of 2012, states must show the Obama administration they have made enough progress to launch the exchanges on time. If they can’t, the federal government will intervene to ensure this happens.

And if you are a small business owner, some good news. Also starting in 2014, you or your small business may be able to buy insurance from a new type of non-profit, consumer-run health insurer, called a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP).

Hawaii, as of this writing, is the only state to affirm they are indeed prepared for implementation. Most other states are still laying groundwork. Thirty-three states have accepted multimillion-dollar grants to plan their exchanges. So expect a lot more activity in the coming months to get our nation closer to higher rates of insured Americans.

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