The Affordable Care Act of 2010 created a number of changes in the American healthcare system. Many caused the system to become more consumer-oriented and less profit-oriented for insurance companies. Despite problems with its rollout, Obamacare is helping to make Americans healthier, while helping to reduce costs for the healthcare industry.
Guaranteed Issue Covered Preexisting Conditions
Previously, health insurance companies could increase their profits by denying coverage to people who have already been diagnosed with a medical condition. Although a number of states set up “high risk pools” to provide insurance for individuals with pre-existing conditions, these pools were unable to cover the estimated 25 million people who needed medical care. Under Obamacare, people with pre-existing conditions could not be denied coverage, and subsidies were provided to cover the cost of insurance for these individuals.
Preventative Care Became the Norm
While many large corporations offered healthcare with a number of preventative care provisions, most people with health insurance had to pay for these items out-of-pocket. Obamacare made coverage for preventative care services, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, mandatory, which reduces larger healthcare expenses.
More Young People Have Health Insurance
Obamacare also helps to bring this healthy group back into the healthcare system. Young people are able to stay on their parents’ policies until the age of 26. The Healthcare Marketplace makes it easy to sign up for coverage whenever young people need it. Prices for insurance are low, so premiums can fit into their tight budgets. The addition of this healthy demographic group helps to reduce overall healthcare costs for the industry because they generally don’t use medical services. They pay into the healthcare system, but take little out of it. This helps to spread out the risk for health insurance companies and reduces payouts.
Health Insurance Companies Spend More on Patients
The previous system used unlimited amounts of money for administrative costs, salaries, and profit, leaving policyholders often paying significant amounts in deductibles and uncovered costs. Americans had to spend twice as much on healthcare as other developed nations. Obamacare mandated that health insurance companies spend 80 percent of the money from premiums on actual medical care for individual policyholders, 85 percent for employer policyholders. This measure has resulted in better coverage for patients and streamlined organization of insurance companies.
Dental Coverage Is Also Offered
Obamacare’s subsidies have also made it possible for people to more easily afford dental insurance in addition to health insurance. The Healthcare.gov site makes it easy to sign up for dental coverage for those who are interested. Bart Knellinger, a CEO of dental marketing companies such as Progressive Dental Marketing, says they are also finding new opportunities to present information on dental services to new people entering the healthcare market.
Obamacare has had its fair share of issues getting up and running, but now with these changes in place it will be easier than ever for people to get signed up for the coverage and health services they need.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.