Passed into law in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has been instrumental in providing millions of Americans with an efficient and comprehensive health care program. The ACA is required of all American citizens, and most insurance companies offer ACA assistance to their clients in order to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. However, in 2016, a largely Republican congress, backed by President Trump, announced plans to cut ACA funding, which could leave millions of Americans without health care. Although the program has not been repealed, steps have been taken to make it more difficult for people to avail of the ACA. With millions of dollars having been axed from the funding, how has the Affordable Care Act changed, and how do these changes affect the private citizen?
Higher Risk of Personal Bankruptcy
From 2010 to 2016, experts say that the number of people filing for bankruptcy dropped sharply. From 1,536,799 in 2010 to 770,846 in 2016, almost 50% fewer people filed for bankruptcy since the ACA took effect. Most legal and financial experts agree that medical bills are a major source of personal bankruptcy. Unlike other forms of debt, such as mortgages and business loans, medical bills are much more volatile because these are often large, unexpected, and involuntary. Because the ACA was a comprehensive program, many Americans were able to avoid large medical bills. But, with a 90% cut to the funding of the ACA, Americans in a lower-income bracket are in danger of losing their coverage. This translates to more money potentially being spent on medical bills, which can also lead to higher risks of bankruptcy.
Fewer Tax Credits for Small Businesses
Under the ACA, small-to-medium enterprises are given tax credits for said businesses to provide insurance coverage to their employees. The ACA offsets the expenses by shifting the burden of payment to healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies, in an effort to avoid an increase in tax deficits. With the proposed changes to the ACA, however, small businesses will have a harder time covering their employee benefits. One of the changes recently enacted was the rolling back of essential health benefits. Plus, per these changes, only the Health and Human Services (HHS) can determine who qualifies for a particular benefit.
Less Comprehensive Health Benefits
The ACA mandates that all insurance providers cover 10 essential health benefits in their plans. These benefits range from drug costs to emergency room visits, and even hospital stays. Hospitalization under the ACA is covered by the insurance provider, with patients only paying 20% of the bill – provided they have not reached their out-of-pocket limit. However, recently enacted changes enable states to enlist private insurance companies to provide coverage. These private companies have the freedom to offer less comprehensive benefits at prices that are possibly higher. This has translated to more expensive premiums for fewer benefits, leaving millions of lower-income Americans without health care. The changes to the Affordable Care Act will have a major impact on how Americans will approach health insurance. However, DECO Recovery Management will make sure that your ACA coverage is still beneficial to you and your family. For over 14 years, DECO has been a leading provider of eligibility management services to the state of Maryland. Contact us, and we’ll assist you in determining your eligibility for a variety of insurance plans.