Because of the Affordable Care Act, the 85 percent of Americans who have insurance have more choices and stronger coverage than ever before. And for the 15 percent of Americans who don’t have insurance, or families and small businesses who buy their coverage but aren’t happy with it, a new day is just around the corner.
Soon, we take a critical step forward when a new online Health Insurance Marketplace will provide millions of families and small businesses who currently don’t have insurance, or are looking for a better deal, a new way to find health coverage that fits their needs and their budgets.
Open enrollment in the Marketplace starts October 1, with coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2014. But families and small business can visit HealthCare.gov right now to find the information they need prepare for open enrollment.
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As the law’s implementation continues, we’re ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable, quality health coverage that leads to better value, better health, and better choices.
Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care, or provide you a refund. In 2012, 8.5 million consumers received half a billion dollars in refunds — with the average consumer receiving a refund of around $100 per family. Moreover, 77.8 million consumers saved $3.4 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently as compared to 2011.
For the first time ever, insurance companies in every state must publicly justify any rate increase of 10 percent or more. Since implementing the law, the fraction of requests for insurance premium increases of 10 percent or more has dropped dramatically, from 75 percent to 14 percent. To date, the rate review program has helped save Americans an estimated $1 billion.
Insurance companies can no longer rescind your coverage because you get sick or because you made a mistake on an application. And they can no longer limit lifetime coverage to a fixed dollar amount. Already 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on essential health benefits, thanks to the law.
Millions of non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition, including 17.6 million children. Today, insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes, under the healthcare law. And beginning in 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing condition.
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services