A Simplified Look at U.S. Healthcare Reform
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 15:10
As the debating comes to a close and election day imminently approaches, one issue on the minds of voters across the nation continues to raise question and even concern for our nation’s people: the healthcare system.
This topic can be confusing and might even seem irrelevant to many college students today, however, I would like to take the time to explain several aspects of U.S. healthcare that are particularly pertinent to young adults.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Although this was over two years ago, its various components will continue to be initiated into our healthcare system over the next three years, expanding into 2015.
Looking back, in 2010 medical insurance information was made available to consumers via the internet and policies were put in place to help increase consumer access to affordable care, which included extending insurance coverage for young adults.
Before this new option was created, adult children, especially between the ages of 19 and 24, were forced to experience several years of life after high school without medical insurance because insurance companies had the authority to remove them from their parents’ health plans.
Now, described by healthcare.gov, “under the Affordable Care Act, if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius states that because of this new law, approximately 2.5 million more young adults are able to have health coverage.
In 2011, the primary focus of the Affordable Care Act was on improving the quality of healthcare as well as lowering its costs. This focus continued in 2012 with the implementation of several Medicare and Medicaid-related programs and techniques to encourage the administrative restructuring in hospitals and clinics by standardizing paperwork and improving the confidentiality of consumer health information.
What we have to look forward to as young adults entering the workforce and soon having to apply for our own medical insurance is the improvement of preventive health coverage in 2013.
The number of Americans who are eligible for coverage will be expanded greatly, making options available to those who may not have been previously able to afford health insurance and covering a greater number of children as well.
Many more changes will be made in 2014, including the prohibition of gender bias or discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions when it comes to applying for health insurance.
Another component of this act prohibits insurance companies from imposing a yearly limit on how much healthcare coverage an individual can receive. This will benefit individuals and the families of individuals with serious illnesses that require significant amounts of treatment or extensive hospital stays.
Finally, in 2015 physicians will begin to receive pay based on value rather than volume. According to healthcare.gov, this “new provision will tie physician payments to the quality of care they provide…so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower quality care.”