Today, Congressman Tim Bishop released updated fact sheets highlighting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for America's senior citizens, women, young people and children, and small business owners.
Senior Citizens: Health reform has increased benefits for seniors on Medicare, including free preventive services and an annual wellness visit, and has saved seniors $4.5 billion on prescription drug costs since 2010. The law also extends the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years -- from 2016 to 2024 -- by reducing waste and making the system more efficient, without reducing benefits for seniors.
Women: Health reform ensures that women are no longer discriminated against by banning insurance companies from dropping women when they get sick or become pregnant and ending "gender rating" where women are charged more than men for coverage. Starting in 2014, insurers will be barred from denying coverage or charging more based on "pre-existing conditions." The law also provides free coverage of important, life-saving preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies for women in private plans.
Young Adults and Children: As a result of health reform, young adults are now allowed to stay on their parents' health plans up to their 26th birthday. The law also prohibits insurers from denying coverage to children under age 19 for having a "pre-existing condition." Up to 17 mllion children with pre-existing conditions are now protected from discrimination.
Small Businesses: If they choose to provide coverage for their employees, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit to cover up to 35% of the cost of the coverage -- going up to 50% in 2014. Also in 2014, small businesses and their employees will be able to pool their buying power and take advantage of more affordable plans available only to large firms today.
"The health reform law contains vital consumer and patient protections that benefit every American by improving delivery of care while controlling costs," said Congressman Bishop. "The law is making America healthier while reducing the deficit and helping middle class families find affordable, secure coverage."