Friday, March 23, 2012, is the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. The law offers protections to cancer survivors and coverage to those that previously may not have been able to get insurance. 32 million uninsured Americans are expected to receive health care coverage once the law has been fully implemented. Thanks to the new law, The LIVESTRONG Navigation Center has enrolled patients into programs designed for people that may not have been covered previously. (See Gabriel’s story from yesterday’s blog.) Below are some of the key points from the Affordable Care Act that are of note to people affected by cancer:
- Pre-exsisting Conditions: The law currently prohibits private insurance companies from enacting pre-existing condition exclusions for children 18 and younger. By 2014, individual and group plans will be prohibited from enacting pre-existing condition exclusions for adults as well.
- Can’t be dropped: Health plans are now prohibited from dropping a person from coverage when they become sick.
- No Lifetime Caps: Individual and group plans are now prohibited from placing lifetime caps on health insurance benefits. Recent estimates indicate that 105 million individuals no longer face lifetime limits as a result. By 2014, the law will end any annual limits on health insurance benefits.
- Young Adults: Young adults are now able to be covered under their parents’ insurance policy until their 26th birthday. Recent data estimates that 2.5 million individuals aged 19 to 25 years gained insurance in the period between the enactment of the law in September 2010 and June 2011. A recent study indicates that over half of those new young-adult enrollees were made up of racial and ethnic minorities.
- Preventive Services Coverage: The law now requires Medicare and new private plans to cover preventive services like breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening with no co-pays and with preventive services exempt from deductibles.
- Clinical Trials: By 2014, the law will prohibit new health plans from dropping coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial and from denying coverage for routine care that they would otherwise provide just because an individual is enrolled in a clinical trial. It would apply to all clinical trials that treat cancer or other life-threatening diseases.
If you are uninsured and have questions about how you may be covered under the Affordable Care Act, please contact LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Services by going online or by calling 1-855-220-7777. We are here for you and your family.