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36 Million in Need

By Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway
A very dear friend is presently having marital problems that came to a head because of a medical bill. “Kathy” worked for many years and her husband was on her insurance plan. She was fortunate because her previous employer paid the insurance premiums based on her high-profile position. Kathy subsequently quit her job, has a small consulting business, and is now on her husband’s Health Savings insurance plan which has a high deductible. There is money in the plan to pay for medical expenses, but Kathy has already spent $400.00 of the available $1500 and her husband will not allow her to spend any more money, despite the fact that she needs to see a specialist for a chronic problem. The Affordable Care Act will help Kathy because it will provide new tax credits to help defray the cost of insurance premiums as a small business owner. Kathy was not aware that:
  • Young adults can now remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26
  • Children up to the age of 18 can no longer be denied because of a pre-existing condition
  • 4 million small businesses were notified of new tax credits
  • Applications are being accepted that will reimburse employers for some of the cost of providing health benefits to early retirees
  • $250.00 checks were disbursed by the government to Medicare recipients with high drug costs
  • As of September 23, 2010, there is no co-pay for colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations
  • If you join a new insurance plan, you can keep your former physician
  • All appeals regarding insurance denials can be submitted to a third party for arbitration
Although these benefits are wonderful, I also warned Kathy of the present and future threats to the Affordable Care Act that include
  • There is presently a one year waiver on new rules that phase out annual limits on coverage for limited benefit plans
  • Politicians are withholding money needed to uphold the law
  • Partisanship threatens to limit the money given to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which is mandated to collect tax penalties  from employers who don’t offer health insurance to their employees
  • The present repeal of the Affordable Care Act that would increase the number of uninsured, increase healthcare premiums (Walmart® has recently increased their healthcare premiums by 9%) and increase growth in the federal budget deficit
I advised Kathy that a federal appellate court in Richmond, Virginia threw out 2 cases that challenged the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act but that victory might be short-lived. There are 36 million people in our country who are in dire need of the Affordable Care Act, including Kathy.  America, please don’t let them down.  
Note: Corrections from prior posting. Children up to 18 can no longer be denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions.  As of September 23, 2010, there is no co-pay for colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations.

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