Today – Friday March 23rd – is the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This date is an important opportunity to reflect upon the benefits that Americans of all backgrounds are already seeing as a result of health reform. Moreover, with the Supreme Court oral arguments on the constitutionality of the health law next week, it is more important than ever to illustrate what’s at stake by emphasizing the positive gains the law continues to provide. Consider these stories from social workers around the country:
My 23-year-old daughter had been dropped from my insurance coverage at age 21. As a struggling college student, she could not afford her own insurance. Just a few days after I was able to get her returned to my policy due to the change in the law [allowing adult children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans], my daughter had a serious accident, in which she injured her back and ankle. She would not have been able to get the immediate and comprehensive care she needed without the coverage provided by my insurance.
Paul, an LCSW in CA
My daughter turned 22 in the middle of her last semester of college. At that age, she was no longer eligible for my insurance. I am a single mother and this was a crisis for our family. My daughter had developed a chronic illness that had not been thoroughly diagnosed, and she was experiencing a lot of intermittent pain. She needed to see specialists in an effort to treat and resolve her medical problem. I explored the options for insurance for her, discovering that our only option cost $500 a month. I paid the monthly premium with credit cards. I counted the days until the ACA provision went into effect and my daughter was able to go back on my health plan.
Linda, an LICSW in MA
At my hospital, I have worked with many young adults who were diagnosed with cancer while they were in college. In my 30 years as an oncology social worker, I have had to tell too many young people that even though they move back home so their parents can support them through their cancer treatment, they cannot get on their parent’s health plan. And often, these patients don’t qualify for charity care. Because of the change in the law, many young adult cancer patients will experience one less stress, during what is often the most stressful time a person can be diagnosed with cancer.
Angela, an LICSW in WA
Because of the ACA, 2.5 million more young people have health insurance coverage. There are many more benefits, protections and programs for people of all ages, offered by the Affordable Care Act, which you can read about at www.healthcare.gov.