Affordable Care Act and Crohn’s
For the past week, the Supreme Court case testing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Health Care Reform or Obamacare) has filled the news cycle, leaving people wondering if the entire law would end up being repealed.
Today, the decision came out and the SCOTUS is upholding the law, with the exception of the Medicaid expansion provision. This is great news for Crohnies because if the law was struck down entirely, options for health insurance would revert back to the limited ones available previously.
With this huge news, its important to discuss, specifically, what the law does for Crohn’s patients and their families.
First and foremost- it gets rid of preexisting conditions! This is a HUGE victory for those with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. I remember in 2009, a few months before Dan and I got married, we didn’t know what to do because his work insurance was running out and COBRA was going to cost us $500+ a month. He couldn’t go on my insurance yet because we weren’t legally married so we tried to get private insurance for him for a few months. Unfortunately, as was the common practice, he was denied coverage not by one but by multiple insurance companies because of his Crohn’s diagnosis.
This will no longer occur. Now Crohn’s patients will be able to purchase private insurance without fear of being denied because of their illness. I can’t express how unprecedented this is and how this will change the lives of so many patients who are uninsured.
Secondly, the law expands coverage for young adults. Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis often hit a lot of young adults who may not have full time jobs or the ability to get insurance through those jobs. The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to remain on their parents insurance until they are 26 years old. This will enable young adults with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis to receive treatment and stay insured during a time in their life when employment and schooling may be uncertain and insurance might not be available elsewhere.
Third- the law lowers the cost of health insurance. Many health insurance plans are exorbitantly expensive, and many people are unable to purchase them due to that fact. However, with the creation of the state health insurance exchanges, lower cost plans will be available for purchase.
Lastly, lifetime limits are eliminated by the law. Previously, insurance companies could set a limit on the total lifetime benefits you received from them. For example, they could impose a total dollar limit on benefits or limits on specific procedures. Once that limit was reached, the insurance plan wouldn’t pay for those services. The Affordable Care Act changes that by eliminating lifetime limits- essential for Crohn’s patients who undergo many expensive procedures and tests yearly.
Obviously, there are MANY more benefits to the Affordable Care Act than what I listed above. However, those are the major benefits that will help Crohn’s patients in the next few years. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty excited by these changes.
You can learn more about the specific provisions in the Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov