On October 1st, just 25 days away, millions of uninsured Americans will have the opportunity to purchase their own health insurance that will go into effect January 1, 2014. They will be able to do so without the fear of being denied due to poor health or pre-existing conditions. They will be able to do so without fear of paying discriminatory pricing due to their gender. They will be able to purchase insurance without the threat of missing something in the fine print, and will obtain coverage with guaranteed benefits that will allow them to work with a doctor to improve their health.
If you are uninsured, and want to get ready for enrollment now, start here.
We have known all of the above for quite some time, despite the doom-and-gloom messaging of opponents of the ACA. Thanks to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), we now know “Obamacare” will be able to stand by the “Affordable” in the official title of the law, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” This week, KFF released the results of a 17 states + DC study to find out what insurance will cost on the newly formed exchanges. The costs are below expectations, notably lower than the Congressional Budget Office itself predicted.
I wish I could stop writing here, but this study only tells part of the story. As this study is very good news for the uninsured consumer in those 18 marketplaces, we are still awaiting to hear about rates in the 33 states yet to publish the rates insurance companies will be offering. The 18 marketplaces that have published their insurance rates are largely states that have been actively working to implement the ACA. Most have set up their own exchanges, rather than relying on the federal government to do it for them. There is an abundance of evidence that some states are actively undermining the law, and their residents will likely pay the price.
So, while residents of Maryland will enjoy some of the lowest cost insurance in the nation, those who live in Florida will be left without an advocate in their state capitol to fight for better prices.
This will be a major challenge for the media, in my humble opinion. Will they explain to readers, viewers and listeners that Floridians pay more than Marylanders thanks to the decisions of their elected state officials? Will the statements of politicians be refuted with fact? So far, I have not seen many accurate pieces of reporting on this issue. It’s a shame. Citizens ought to know what their elected officials are doing to protect them from unfair prices and corporate abuses.
Rest assured, though, that although the rollout of every new major program has its difficulties, time will allow for corrections and improvements and millions of Americans will someday have access to affordable, comprehensive, non-discriminatory health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act.