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Rush Highlights that Hundreds of Thousands of People in Illinois are Already Benefiting from the Affordable Care Act

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Bobby L. Rush announced that a new report shows that hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois are already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. The third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act falls on March 23rd.

"It has only been three years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, but millions of Americans are already seeing lower costs and better coverage," said Rush. "This includes hundreds of thousands of people right here in Illinois." A new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides estimates by state of the number of people benefiting from the law.

"Residents of my state ranging from young adults to seniors to children are receiving critical benefits from this healthcare law," said Rush.

The new report shows that the healthcare law has already provided:

No lifetime limit on coverage for 4,670,000 residents of Illinois, including 1,743,000 women and 1,192,000 children. The healthcare law prohibits insurers from placing a lifetime limit on coverage. It is estimated that 4,670,000 residents of Illinois had a lifetime limit on their coverage before health reform, and now no longer do. In the past, in some cases, lifetime limits on coverage have forced some families to declare personal bankruptcy.

Lower drug costs for 133,889 seniors in Illinois. The healthcare law makes prescription drug coverage for people with Medicare more affordable. It does this by gradually closing the gap in drug coverage known as the "donut hole.' Because of this provision, in 2012 alone, 133,889 seniors in Illinois who reached the "donut hole' saved $235.3 million on their drugs, an average of $716 per senior. Also, since the enactment of the healthcare law, seniors in Illinois have saved a total of $95.9 million.

Free key preventive services used by 1,271,704 seniors in Illinois. The healthcare law provides free Medicare coverage of key preventive services, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and annual wellness visits. Because of this provision, 1,271,704 seniors in Illinois received one or more free preventive services under Medicare in 2012, lowering their out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Before reform, some preventive services could have a co-pay as high as $160.

Free key preventive services for 3,047,000 individuals under age 65 in Illinois. The healthcare law also provides, for those enrolled in most private plans, free coverage of key preventive services. As a result of this provision, 3,047,000 individuals in Illinois with private insurance plans received one or more free key preventive services, such as mammograms or flu shots, in 2011 and 2012.

Coverage for 125,000 additional young adults in Illinois, who would otherwise be uninsured. The healthcare law requires health insurers to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until their 26th birthday. Because of this provision, 125,000 young adults in Illinois have obtained health insurance through their parents' plan, who would be uninsured without this coverage.

Rebates from insurance companies benefiting 299,544 consumers in Illinois. Under the healthcare law, insurers must spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care and quality improvement--rather than CEO pay, profits and administrative costs. Each summer, all insurers that fail to meet this standard must pay rebates to their customers. Last summer, 299,544 consumers in Illinois benefited from $61,802,411 in rebates that were provided by the insurance companies.

"As the new benefits of the healthcare law continue to be implemented, I will continue to fight GOP efforts to repeal this critical law, such as the GOP budget on the House Floor this week that repeals health reform," Rush added. "Republican efforts to repeal reform will put the insurance companies back in charge and will lead to higher costs and reduced benefits for millions of Americans across the country."

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