How young adults benefit from healthcare reform
If you and your family have benefited from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, think carefully when you vote for a President in November. Even if the Supreme Court rules that the act is constitutional, republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney promises to repeal it.
The bill, which I refer to as Obamacares, is being implemented piecemeal and won’t be fully active until 2014 when everyone will be required to buy health insurance and no one will be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, the former being the most unpopular feature of the bill. However, many popular provisions have already been enacted and millions of Americans are reaping the benefits.
As we all know, Obamacares is terribly unpopular. It’s been demonized as a “government take-over of healthcare.” Well, if Obamacares is so unpopular, why do so many Americans want to keep the provisions that have been enacted so far? Because, many of them protect us from the unscrupulous practices of some insurance companies.
Provisions such as:
- Disallowing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits like hospital stays, in new policies they issue.
- Allowing young adult dependents to remain on their parents' insurance plan until their 26th birthday.
- Prohibiting insurers from excluding pre-existing medical conditions (except grandfathered individual health insurance plans) for children under the age of 19.
- Closing the doughnut hole for prescription drugs for seniors.
- Prohibiting insurers from dropping policyholders when they get sick.
- Requiring insurers to spend 80 to 85 percent of our premiums on medical care. If an insurer fails to meet this requirement, a rebate must be issued to the policyholder. Texans will receive $186 million in rebates.
- All new plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance.
- Women's Preventive Services — including well-woman visits, support for breastfeeding equipment, contraception and domestic violence screening — will be covered without cost sharing.
We in Texas are very familiar with what the republicans want to do with that final provision.
I wanted to go into some detail about a particular provision that my 24 year old daughter particularly likes — the one that allows her to remain on the family policy until she’s 26.
A recent report says that President Obama's healthcare law has helped as many as 6.6 million young adults get onto or stay on their parents' health plans in the first year and a half after the law was signed. That figure indicates just how popular this provision is.
Even Massachusetts' Republican Senator Scott Brown, who voted against Obamacares, benefits from this provision that allows his 23-year-old daughter to remain on his “government” health plan.
As the report says, “now, graduating students are free to make career choices based on what they want to do, not where they can get health insurance.”
Repealing the law as Mr. Romney promises will have a substantial negative effect on these young people, many will struggle to pay their medical bills and to get health insurance while still dealing with paying student loans. Fully one-fifth of students reported having to pay off medical bills over time.
Nearly 2 in 5 young adults ages 19 to 29 reported a gap in health insurance in 2011 before the provision went into effect and 41% delayed getting needed medical care.
Think seriously about who you will cast your ballot for this November. There are some provisions of the law that could use some tweaking, but we’re far better off with the protections it provides.