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How Has the American Healthcare System Changed?
The American healthcare system has undergone drastic reforms in recent years. When signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implemented regulations to make health insurance more accessible and affordable for individuals and families across the nation.
The American Healthcare System Before the Affordable Care Act
Before the ACA was fully implemented, the healthcare system in America ranked last among industrialized nations in terms of affordability and patient access. And without federal regulation, Americans were denied healthcare because of pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy, asthma, high blood pressure, and cancer. Those with pre-existing conditions who did receive health coverage were charged high out-of-pocket expenses for routine and preventive services. In fact, the cost of insurance was the main reason that 61% of Americans remained uninsured in 2013.
But since the Affordable Care Act was put into law in 2010, more Americans are finding cost-effective health insurance plans that fit their medical needs and budgets, including those with pre-existing conditions.
The American Healthcare System Today
Armed with subsidies, the ACA has helped lower-income families who were unable to obtain health insurance prior to the ACA. In addition to affordability, health insurance has become far more accessible now that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Americans can now receive affordable coverage for the medical services they need.
In addition, each health plan now comes with minimum health benefits, such as maternity and preventive care. These are known as the essential health benefits. There are 10 categories of these benefits:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services including surgery and transplant
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental and behavioral health treatment and substance abuse services
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services including dental and vision
The U.S. spends more on medical care than any other industrialized nation, but ranks 24th among 30 developed countries in terms of life expectancy. Because of this, the Affordable Care Act has made steps toward improving the healthcare industry to match our industrialized neighbors. The American healthcare system has already shown signs of revitalization due to the ACA in accommodating the average American’s medical and financial needs. According to a recent Gallup poll, the uninsured rate among U.S. adults dropped from a peak of 18 percent to a new low of 11.9 percent.
At HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, we support the new American healthcare system in its ability to provide accessible and affordable health insurance to Americans across the nation. Let one of our licensed insurance agents help you navigate this new system and find a health plan for you and your family.
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/29/upshot/obamacare-who-was-helped-most.html?abt=0002&abg=1&_r=0