By Representative Himes
On the two-year anniversary of Health Care Reform, Connecticut continues to reap the benefits of more affordable health care. The Department of Health and Human Services has released a fact sheet with information on how Connecticut residents are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. In Connecticut:
422,000 seniors received Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
20,000 young adults now have health insurance thanks to a provision allowing children to stay on their parents' healthcare plans until 26.
2,710 small businesses received tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.
192,000 children with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers.
In addition, 37,000 seniors have received prescription drug discounts worth $24.7 million, an average discount of $654 per senior, after reaching the "donut hole," and 189,000 children ahd 710,000 adults now have health insurance that covers free preventive services. The Affordable Care Act also limits the amount of money health insurers can spend on administrative expenses and requires them to justify rate increases of 10% or more, giving Connecticut consumers more bang for their bucks.
And there's more good news on the way: starting in September 2012, health insurers and employers will be required to provide customers with a straightforward summary of their benefits so that they can easily compare health care options. By the end of 2012, everyone in Connecticut will be protected from discrimination based on preexisting health conditions, and by 2014, lifetime limits will be banned so that cancer patients and those with chronic illnesses will no longer have to worry about paying exorbitant sums for their own medical care. Connecticut residents who buy their health insurance on the private market will be able to shop for health insurance in transparent and competitive marketplaces called exchanges, where insurers will publish the prices and benefits of their policies in simple, plain language.
Along with all of these benefits, the Affordable Care Act is on track to reduce the federal deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade and by more than $1 trillion in the decade after that.