Now that the dust has settled and the political posturing has calmed down a bit, it is clear that the debate about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has pushed healthcare to the forefront for many people who have been ambivalent in the past. The complexities of this legislation and the extensive discussions in the media, are forcing people to think about their own health issues and realize that they must become more personally involved if they are to manage their health care costs and their interactions with the system.
Although many of these same people, in the past, passively followed the advice of their medical providers without asking a lot of questions or challenging the system, they now must take a proactive stance. The discussions in the press raised awareness so that, given the choice, people should want to know all about their health and medical options, particularly about the cost of care, competence of their medical providers, and benefits and downside of their treatment choices.
Sifting through the gobbledygook of the Obamacare discussions,there are several key points that all patients should understand, including the following:
The legislation prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with chronic and pre-existing conditions. It requires insurers to provide consumers with easy-to-understand summaries about their coverage and requires health plans in the individual market to offer essential benefits needed to prevent and treat a serious condition.
The ruling preserves vital provisions that enables patients to access needed care, so they can see their doctor earlier rather than waiting until they are truly sick. It also supports the patient’s ability to access preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without co-payments and eliminates arbitrary dollar limits on coverage that can suddenly terminate care when a person gets sick. It provides expanded coverage for preventive and wellness care.
The legislation forbids insurance companies to charge individuals with health issues a higher premium than healthy individuals and ends lifetime caps on insurance.
Obamacare allows 2.5 million young adults to remain covered under their parent’s health insurance policies.
The age of Patient Empowerment is finally here! Every health care consumer must take an active role, understand the issues and make intelligent choices if they want to be well taken care of when they fall ill.