Info available if consumers really want to learn truth about Affordable Care Act

Recent letters to the editor regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) make it very apparent that too many individuals are basing their opinions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on what they want to think the ACA is and what it does. 

The Affordable Care Act “... reduces premium costs for millions of working families and small businesses by providing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax relief — the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history. It also reduces what families will have to pay for health care by capping out-of-pocket expenses and requiring preventive care to be fully covered without any out-of-pocket expense.” (Source: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/law/index.html.)

This act provides tax cuts, in the form of tax credits to be applied for on one’s income tax forms, or taken in advance on their monthly insurance bill. What’s not to like? How does this differ from the Earned Income Tax Credit that millions of qualified Americans can claim? 

It was implied in one letter to the editor that the benefits that one person was enjoying, after purchasing healthcare insurance because of the ACA, was somehow being paid for by a dissenting correspondent’s taxes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The newly insured person took advantage of the ACA tax credit on his own taxes. Only those Americans “... making under 138 percent Federal Poverty Level may qualify for Medicaid depending on if their State has implemented Medicaid expansion.” (Source: http://obamacarefacts.com/state-health-insurance-exchange/.)

 There was nothing in the newly insured person’s letter that indicated that he was among the percentage that qualified for Medicaid, so I don’t understand the objection. But if you despise tax dollars being used to help other Americans, then perhaps comfort can be found in knowing that it’s going toward our over inflated military budget. 

I’ve heard many myths about the ACA. Following are just a few: 

• Myth: “Obamacare made my premiums go up.”

Fact: Health insurance premiums have been rising over the past decade due to the rising cost of health care in the United States. Premium rates have been rising faster than income, which is part of the reason 50 million Americans didn’t have health insurance. 

“The primary cause of the insurance premium rate hikes under ObamaCare is the requirement for insurers to cover high-risk consumers. Insurance companies can no longer deny Americans with pre-existing conditions. ...These factors, along with a few other required benefits, rights and protections ... provided for by the ACA, have led to rate increases.” (Source: http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-health-insurance-premiums/.)

So, the full truth of that complaint is, because of the new regulations, there had to be an increase of coverage for some policies, thus an increase in the premium. There isn’t anything stopping the policy holder from making adjustments to their policy in order to pay less.

• Myth: “My insurance policy was canceled because of Obamacare.”

Fact: The ACA “... keeps insurance companies honest by setting clear rules that rein in the worst insurance industry abuses. And it bans insurance companies from denying insurance coverage because of a person’s pre-existing medical conditions while giving consumers new power to appeal insurance company decisions that deny doctor ordered treatments covered by insurance.” (Source: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/law/index.html.)

 The ACA is packed full of new laws that end fraud by insurance companies and guarantees transparency of their operations. The policies that have been canceled were policies that didn’t meet the standards set forth by the Affordable Care Act. Plain and simple. Canceled policies were due to “insurance industry abuses” from which the ACA laws now protects consumers.

Myth: “I was forced to change doctors because of ObamaCare.” This one is my favorite. 

In the course of purchasing health insurance through the state’s Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace (http://obamacarefacts.com/state-health-insurance-exchange/) there were so many choices. My goodness. I had my pick of just a tiny bit of coverage to a massive amount of coverage. I could choose a low or high deductible. I could choose an insurance that my doctor was already included in its network. Or I could choose an insurance that did not have my doctor in its network.

So, if someone had to change doctors — it was because of their own choices or they did not do their research, not “because of Obamacare.”

I strongly encourage all who read this who have preconceived notions as to what they think the Affordable Care Act is all about, without really knowing what it is and what it provides, to take the time to go online at: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rigt/law/index.html and read. 

Another helpful tool is: http://obamacarefacts.com/.

Mary Maly is a retired Homer resident.

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