Access to quality, affordable health care is critical to the well being of America. Central to this is addressing the needs of the millions of uninsured Americans, strengthening the Medicare system, providing health insurance to our low-income children, funding cutting-edge research, and giving patients the ability to make their own health care decisions.
The Affordable Care Act took a major step forward in addressing these important health care issues. Signed into law on March 21, 2010, we recently marked the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act -- a law that ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduces long-term health care costs. The Affordable Care Act is also designed to put you, not the health insurance companies, back in charge of your health care. Because of the Affordable Care Act:
* If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents' health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own.
* If you are among 4 million eligible small businesses, you can receive tax credits if you choose to offer coverage to your employees -- covering 35% of the cost of coverage.
* If you are a child under age 19, you can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company for having a "pre-existing condition."
* Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage. Such limits have caused some families to declare bankruptcy.
* If you are a senior, you will now be receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs if you enter the Medicare Part D "donut hole' coverage gap -- a discount that grows until the "donut hole' is closed in 2020.
* You can no longer be dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick.
* Your insurance company can no longer place restrictive annual limits on your coverage -- with annual limits completely eliminated by 2014.
* If you are in a new plan, you now have free coverage of key preventive services, such as immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings.
* Your insurance company must now spend at least 80 percent of premiums on covering medical services -- rather than administrative expenses, CEO pay, and profits.
* Your insurance company must now publish on the Internet detailed justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent.