The state of our nation’s health care is better off than it was when the President took office.
The White Huse, March 24, 2015 — Five years after the Affordable Care Act became law, its vision of affordable, quality health insurance for America is a reality. This is thanks to the variety of critical provisions within the Affordable Care Act.
Read on for five core ways that the Affordable Care Act is working to help Americans.
1. After five years of the Affordable Care Act, more than 16 million people have health coverage.
That’s more people than the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined. This number includes parents who can finally afford to take their kids to the doctor, families who no longer risk losing their homes or savings because someone becomes ill, and young people who are now free to pursue their dreams without worrying about losing access to health care.
With millions of people getting covered, the uninsured rate for non-elderly adults has dropped by 35% since October 2013. “The Affordable Care Act is working,” President Obama said after hearing the news that millions of Americans had signed up and gotten covered. “And I’ll tell you, everywhere I go around the country, I’m meeting individuals who come up and thank me. How passionate they are about the difference it’s made in their lives, it really reminds me why we do all of this.”
2. Medicaid is helping millions.
The Affordable Care Act allows states to expand eligibility for Medicaid, and 28 states and the District of Columbia have done so. Across all 50 states, there are 11.2 million additional Americans enrolled in Medicaid compared to a baseline period in the fall of 2013.
While not every state expanded Medicaid, those that did are seeing especially strong coverage gains. In Medicaid expansion states, the uninsured rate among families with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line declined by 13 percentage points, nearly double the decline in non-expansion states.
3. Those with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies could deny you coverage or charge you more because of a health problem that you had prior to applying for insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you just because you have a pre-existing condition and they can’t close you out of coverage by charging you more than someone who doesn’t have a pre-existing condition.
This key provision means that up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions are no longer at risk of being denied coverage. This includes the parents of over 17.6 million children with pre-existing conditions who no longer have to live with that worry.
4. The uninsured rate for young Americans is at its lowest point since at least 1997.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate for young Americans has declined by more than 40 percent over the past five years. Since 2010, more than 5 million young adults have gained coverage. This includes 2.3 million young adults who have gained coverage by being able to stay on their parent’s health plan. Under the Affordable Care Act, young adults can stay on their parent’s coverage until age 26. With all that can happens in a young person’s life, this provision helps ensure that those who are just starting out in college and work careers can plan with the assurance that they have access to quality and affordable coverage.
5. Americans no longer have lifetime and annual limits on their coverage.
The Affordable Care Act has lifted the lifetime health benefit caps for 105 million Americans. Previously, many plans set a lifetime limit on how much they would spend for your covered benefits during the entire time you were enrolled in their plan. If you went over, you’d be paying out of pocket. Annual limits also constrained families and individuals by restricting how much they could receive per year. That’s not how it should be. That’s why the Affordable Care Act prohibits health plans from putting annual or lifetime dollar limits on most benefits.
These are just five of the core ways in which the Affordable Care Act has helped Americans get quality, affordable health care.
See for yourself: www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform
Click here to meet individuals who have benefited from health care, read their stories, and then pass them on so others can see what getting covered — and staying covered — means.
Chris Evans is an intern in the White House Office of Digital Strategy.