Laura Colbert, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said Monday that health care spending growth has been squeezing patients. “We hear from consumers that…
On March 23, the nation’s landmark health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), turned 3 years old. Though it has only been three years since its passage and while we are still months away from some of the law’s most prominent features taking effect (i.e. health insurance marketplace, individual mandate, etc.), millions of people have already taken advantage of some of the law’s provisions, including many Georgians.
Here is how the ACA has affected Georgia:
- Young adults up to age 26 can now remain on their parent’s health plans. As of December 2011, 123,000 young adults in Georgia gained insurance coverage as a result the health care law.
- Prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries is now more affordable through the gradual closing of the “donut hole.” In Georgia, people with Medicare saved over $161.9 million on prescription drugs since the law’s enactment. In 2012 alone, 99,057 individuals in Georgia saved over $72.5 million, or an average of $732 per beneficiary.
- Preventive services are now available with no cost sharing for services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults. In 2011 and 2012, 71 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 2,202,000 in Georgia.
- Medical loss ratio ensures that insurance companies must provide consumers greater value by spending generally at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of overhead, executive salaries or marketing. If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums. This means that 243,813 Georgia residents with private insurance coverage will benefit from $19,764,771 in rebates from insurance companies this year, for an average rebate of $134 per family covered by a policy.
To learn more about how the ACA has affected Georgia and its citizens, click here. As we get closer to 2014 the focus will turn to the health insurance marketplace, or exchange, and how individuals who are currently uninsured can access new health care options. Georgians for a Healthy Future will continue to monitor the implementation of the ACA and ensure that health care consumers are able to take advantage of the provisions of the law that most affect them.