The Affordable Care Act: One Year Later

This time last year, we were circulating information about how the Affordable Care Act could benefit hundreds of thousands of Louisianans.  The provisions of the ACA that we were particularly taken with included:

  • Providing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions
  • Prohibiting insurance companies from canceling coverage for cancer patients or people living with HIV or AIDS
  • Eliminating lifetime limits on insurance coverage
  • Extending coverage for young people
  • Providing women free contraception
  • Increasing access to STD screenings and preventative healthcare services

These extremely important features made an immediate and dramatic difference in the lives of people all across the United States.  Horror stories had accumulated for years of insurance companies denying people coverage or canceling the insurance policies of people battling cancer due to small technical errors in their applications.  The ACA is at its heart a major piece of consumer protection legislation.

Now that a year has passed, we wanted to let you know how the ACA has held up.  The number of uninsured Americans has dropped – between eight million and 11 million people who were uninsured are now covered, over 70% of those who have received coverage on the exchanges rate the quality of their care as “excellent” or “good,” and early evidence indicates that the ACA has helped keep premium increases in line.

The second open enrollment period started on November 15th and will continue until December 15th.  People who enroll during this time will have their coverage begin January 1, 2015.  The substantial technical problems that plagued the first open enrollment period have not reappeared this time around and almost 500,000 visitors have accessed the enrollment website over the past three days.  And this time around, more insurance companies are signing up to sell plans on the exchanges – 77 new companies, to be exact.  This will significantly increase the number of insurance plans that consumers can choose from and help keep plans competitive.

For more information on the insurance plans available through the Affordable Care Act, go to https://www.healthcare.gov.

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