U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) today noted the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, the package of health care reforms signed by President Obama, applauding the law's wide impact in just its first year of enactment.
"The improved coverage and lower costs provided by the Affordable Care Act have already made a real impact on the lives of New Yorkers," Maloney said. "Children under age 26 are now permitted to stay on their parents' polices; children under age 19 with pre-existing conditions can no longer be automatically rejected for coverage; and small businesses that choose to offer health insurance are benefiting from tax credits of up to 35 percent of employer premiums.
"The Patient's Bill of Rights, which was included in the Affordable Care Act, also celebrates its first birthday today. The portions of the Patient's Bill of Rights that have already taken effect are improving coverage and lowering costs for individuals and their families. These new protections and benefits are crucial to improving the lives of millions of Americans. Congressional Republicans are attempting to repeal these reforms, but I don't think they'll get very far--and I'll fight to ensure that they are never taken away."
Under the Patient's Bill of Rights, if you are one of the 165 million Americans with private insurance, you are now receiving the following protections:
* You can no longer be arbitrarily dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick.
* Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage.
* Your insurance company can no longer place low annual limits on your coverage.
* If you are under age 65 and in a new plan, you are now receiving free key preventive services.
In addition to the Patient's Bill of Rights, the Affordable Care Act also provided new Medicare benefits for America's seniors, which became effective last January. These new Medicare benefits include the following:
* Seniors are now receiving a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs when they are in the Medicare Part D "donut hole' coverage gap. Nearly 1.3 million seniors have already received the discount.
* Seniors are now receiving free key preventive health services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, under Medicare. Nearly 19 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services.
* Seniors are now receiving a free Annual Wellness Visit under Medicare. 1.3 million seniors have already taken advantage of the new free Annual Wellness Visit.