Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Anniversary For Health Care Law

It's been one year since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul legislation and supporters are touting its success.
Families USA, a national organization for health care consumers, has issued a study that examines the numbers of people: children, young adults, and seniors, plus small businesses that are eligible for benefits.
In the first year of the law, uninsured young adults were allowed to stay on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, says nationwide 3.4 million young adults are eligible including 89,100 in Pennsylvania...
"How many have done so, it's hard to say. The reason it's so important to let people know how many people might be eligible is that people might not be aware they are eligible. When they learn about it, they're more likely to talk to their parents to see if their parents are willing to put them back on."
The law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to children who have pre-existing conditions. That affects about 178,000 children in Pennsylvania.

According to Pollack, nearly 217,000 seniors in Pennsylvania, who fall into the so-called "doughnut hole," received a $250 prescription drug rebate check but this year, "these folks when they fall into this coverage gap will be eligible for 50% discounts in brand name drugs. So, I suspect there will be more people who benefit from this."

161,000 small businesses in Pennsylvania, 4 million nationwide, with fewer than 25 employees are eligible for a tax credit to help cover the cost of health insurance premiums for their workers. It's uncertain how many companies want to provide the coverage in order to get the tax credit.
Pollack says even though most of the big provisions of the legislation don't take effect for a couple of years, it's already providing help to children, young adults and seniors.

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