The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President Barack Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010, created â€œcomprehensive reforms thatÂ improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumersÂ fromÂ abusive insurance companyÂ practicesâ€ (The White House, 2014).Â According to census data from 2009, 50.7 millionÂ Americans were uninsured (DeParle, 2010).Â The ACA will allow millions of these Americans to receive health insurance coverage, some for the very first time in their lives.
This law also ends discrimination by insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions, ends limits on care by outlawing annual or lifetime limits, and ends coverage cancellations that used to allow insurance companies to drop a consumer once they became sick or if they make a technical mistake on their application (The White House, 2014).Â Other landmark reforms include â€œrequiring insurance companies to allow young adults to stay on their parentsâ€™ plan until they turn 26â€ and coverage for â€œrecommended preventive services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care without charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insuranceâ€ (DeParle, 2010).
According to HealthCare.gov, â€œall private health insurance plans offered in the Marketplace will offer the same set of 10 essential health benefitsâ€, regardless of coverage level or the cost of the plan.Â â€œThe essential health benefits include at least the following items and services: ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital), emergency services, hospitalization (such as surgery), maternity and newborn care (care before and after your baby is born), mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy), prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills), laboratory services, preventive and wellness servicesÂ and chronic disease management, and pediatric servicesâ€ (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at HealthCare.gov, 2014).
DeParle, Nancy-Ann. â€œThe Affordable Care Act Helps Americaâ€™s Uninsured | The White House.â€Â WhiteHouse.gov. N. p., 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 6 May 2014.
The White House. â€œHealth Care That Works for Americans | The White House.â€Â WhiteHouse.gov. N. p., 2014. Web. 6 May 2014.
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. â€œWhat Does Marketplace Health Insurance Cover, Essential Health Benefits.â€Â HealthCare.gov. N. p., n.d. Web. 6 May 2014.