October 2, 2013/News

Rolling Out the Affordable Care Act

Count Me In Health Care
The Affordable Care Act is already benefitting millions of middle-class families, and its benefits will be even broader after enrollment opens for the Health Insurance Marketplace on Oct. 1. A recent report by HHS shows that the rates for coverage through state marketplaces will be significantly less than initial projections. A recent CNBC poll indicated that a plurality of Americans oppose repealing Obamacare. In addition, 59 percent of Americans oppose the Republican gambit of shutting down the government or defaulting on our obligations in order to defund Obamacare.Republicans are so focused on undermining the President and his legislative agenda to boost the economy and improve access to health care for all Americans, they’re willing to devastate the economy and hurt the economic well-being of ordinary Americans. Republicans know that the only way Obamacare will fail is if they succeed in discouraging Americans from taking advantage of the savings by enrolling in the health-care marketplace.
What do I need to know about the marketplace?Open enrollment through Access Health CT starts on Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. Anyone who enrolls before Dec. 15 will see their coverage start Jan. 1. A good thing, since most people must obtain coverage by the beginning of the year.Through Access Health CT, Connecticut residents can choose coverage from a range of plans and prices, and can purchase those plans with financial assistance. And those plans are not allowed to exclude anyone because of a pre-existing condition. In 2011 and 2012, 71 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 945,000 in Connecticut.

Under the ACA, 211,255 (87 percent) of Connecticut’s uninsured and eligible population may qualify for lower costs on coverage in the Marketplace, including through Medicaid.

How will the Affordable Care Act help Connecticut?

Lower costs, better coverage: The ACA requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care rather than on administrative costs and overhead. Companies that don’t must provide a rebate to their customers. This means that 47,593 Connecticut residents with private insurance coverage will benefit from $5,647,013 in refunds from insurance companies this year, an average refund of $168 per family covered by a policy.

Public health: As of March 2012, Connecticut had received $23,800,000 in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the health care law. This new fund was created to support effective policies in Connecticut, its communities, and nationwide so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives.

Seniors: In Connecticut, people with Medicare saved nearly $96 million on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act. In 2012 alone, 47,677 individuals in Connecticut saved over $42 million, or an average of $880 per beneficiary. Under the ACA, seniors also won’t have to pay out of pocket for preventative services. In Connecticut, 343,059 individuals with traditional Medicare used one or more free preventive service in 2012.

Women: And for policies renewing on or after Aug. 1, 2012, women can now get coverage without cost-sharing of even more preventive services they need. Approximately 47 million women, including 637,900 in Connecticut will now have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing.

Children: Under the health care law, if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old. Thanks to this provision, over 3 million young people have gained coverage nationwide, including 23,000 young adults in Connecticut.

By the Numbers

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a large majority of respondents support the ACA’s tax credits for small businesses who offer their employees insurance, the closing of the Medicare “doughnut hole,” and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plan till age 26.

Kaiser also found that nearly 80 percent favor the health insurance exchanges, subsidies to help individuals purchase insurance, and the expansion of Medicaid.

A CNBC poll released September 23 indicated that 59 percent of respondents oppose the GOP strategy of shutting down the government or defaulting on our obligations unless Obamacare is defunded.

As the GOP sticks to its doomed strategy, there’s a chorus of criticism in individual states that suggests the gambit isn’t playing well at the local level.

A CNN poll released last week found that if there is a government shutdown, 51 percent of Americans would blame Republicans while just 33 percent would blame the President.