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Opinion Letters Affordable Care Act: What's in it for me?

The Affordable Care Act after the Supreme Court Ruling is now without any doubt the law of the land. Citizens have the right to know truthfully what is in the law for them. The following are already in place and improving health care in N.C.:

Preventive Services with no deductible and no co-pay. The law requires new insurance policies and Medicare to cover preventive services like mammograms free of charge (600,000 N.C. women already used this provision).

Coverage for Young Adults: Young people can stay on parents' insurance to age 26 (95,000 in N.C. already covered, 3.1 million nationwide).

Affordable prescription drugs: 29,000 N.C. residents have already saved over $110,000,000 on their prescription drugs because of this law.

Insurance Companies can no longer impose lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. Already 3,091,000 N.C. residents do not have to worry about going without treatment because of limits in coverage.

4,000 N.C. citizens have been able to obtain coverage because of new coverage options covering pre-existing conditions.

Insurance companies cannot spend more than 20 percent on administrative cost or massive CEO salaries. This year 12,000,000 Americans will receive more than $1,000,000,000 in refunds because of this law.

This law offers huge benefits for small business owners and their employees. Currently there is a 35 percent tax credit to cover insurance premiums available to small business owners with less than 25 full time employees (126,000 N.C. businesses). This will increase to 50 percent in 2014.

Now small businesses pay 18 percent higher premiums than large businesses. When health insurance exchanges are in place small businesses can shop competitively and get rates in large pools that are closer to what large companies receive. Currently when a small business actually has to use its insurance for a serious illness insurance companies can jack up rates to outrageous levels. This practice will be prohibited.

Small business owners will have the potential to choose high quality workers that were previously afraid to change jobs because of pre-existing conditions. False claims have been made about the burden small businesses will have to insure their employees. The law specifically exempts all firms that have fewer than 50 employees (96 percent or 5.8 million out of 6 million firms are totally exempt). Of those firms with 50 or more employees 96 percent already offer insurance so that only .2 percent of all firms (10,000 out of 6 million) may face new employer responsibilities. Even these few firms will be able to get much more affordable rates because of the exchanges.

We will have over 30,000,000 Americans become eligible for affordable health insurance. Preventive care will be routinely covered. Seniors will receive better drug coverage. The fear of a pre-existing condition is eliminated. And lastly, this law should reduce the current deficit by over 1 trillion dollars over the next 20 years according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This is truly a huge win for every single United States Citizen.

Ed Morris — Franklin, N.C.


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