Healthcare fact sheet

Issues: Healthcare

2.5 Million Young Adults Have Health Insurance Thanks to Health Reform

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 2.5 million young adults have gained health insurance coverage thanks to health reform. A provision in the Affordable Care Act allows young adults to obtain coverage on their parent's health insurance plan until their 26th birthday. The report shows that the number of additional insured 19-25 year olds as a result of the new law is significantly larger than the 900,000 figure estimated in September. The policy went into effect in September 2010.

 This is further proof that the new health law is working for American families.  I will continue to work to ensure that Americans have access to affordable and quality health care, now and in the future.

Medicare Premiums and Deductibles are Down

Seniors who rely on Medicare will see their Part B premiums and deductibles go down in 2012.  Seniors with fixed incomes have been making terrible sacrifices and choosing between rent and medication, food and doctor visits.  The decrease in Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles for 2012 is a direct result of the Medicare reforms included in the Affordable Care Act – further affirmation of the positive impact health reform is already having on Americans' pocketbooks.   According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the standard premium will decrease by nearly 14 percent in 2012, from $115.40 in 2011 to $99.90 in 2012. The 2012 Part B deductible will be $140, which is $22 less than it was in 2011. http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/10/20111027a.html

Georgia Seniors Are Paying Less for Prescription Drugs in the Donut Hole & Are Receiving Free Preventative Services

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are receiving free preventive services and getting cheaper prescription drugs.

50 Percent Discount on Brand-Name Drugs

  • 76,012 Georgia Seniors have received the 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs for those in the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ coverage gap, as of October 31, 2011.
  • These Georgia seniors have already saved over $39 million as a result of this discount.
  • Georgia Seniors who have received this discount saved an average of $522 as of October 21, 2011.

Free Preventive Care Benefit and Free Annual Wellness Visit under Medicare

Over 682,000 Georgia Seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare (or 69% of those enrolled in the program) have received one or more free preventive services (such as mammograms and cholesterol tests), as of November 30, 2011.  In addition, 55,842 seniors in Georgia alone have taken advantage of the new free Annual Wellness Visit.

Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions have Insurance because of Health Reform

People with pre-existing conditions, who were unable to find health coverage, can now buy insurance through Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP).  Georgia’s PCIP is administered by the federal government.  More than 27,000 people now have coverage that they could not buy for any price in the private insurance market before this law passed.   

Starting in 2013 no health insurer will be able to deny coverage to any person with a pre-existing health condition and new Health Insurance Exchanges will be available to help people choose insurance policies that meet the needs of their families. Millions of Americans also will receive tax credits to help make coverage affordable.  As in the meantime, PCIPs were created and were enrolling uninsured Americans a mere 7 months after the Affordable Care Act became law.  Last year, HHS announced a 15% drop in insurance premiums for the PCIP in Georgia, making the policies available to even more Georgians with chronic conditions.  To be eligible to purchase a PCIP plan you must have a pre-existing condition and have been uninsured for the past 6 months. For more information or to enroll in a PCIP please go to www.pcip.gov.

Preventing Disease and Illness

The Affordable Care Act created a new $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, which invests in proven prevention and public health programs that can help keep people healthy, including programs that combat obesity and help people quit smoking.

Strengthening Community Health Centers

One of the most critical provisions in the Affordable Care Act were those that provided new funding to construct and expand services at community health centers, which provide some of the most cost-effective health care anywhere in our nation.  This funding will allow community health centers to serve approximately 20 million new patients nationwide.  For more information about the ACA and CHCs, please go to:  http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/08/increasing-access.html

CMS Report Shows Health Spending Remained Slow in 2010

New health expenditure statistics released by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that overall growth in health spending remains at historic lows, which is great news.  However the report also shows that health insurers have been shifting costs to consumers.  This cost shifting is a burden that working families cannot afford.  This report shows that the reforms included in the Affordable Care Act are needed now more than ever.   Health reform requires that health plans spend at least 80 percent of profits on direct health care spending, rather than profits and overhead expenses.  It requires public disclosure of unjustified premium increases.  And, the report shows that health reform has not caused premiums to spike, despite claims to the contrary.  The CMS data appeared in the article, "Growth In US Health Spending Remained Slow In 2010; Health Share Of Gross Domestic Product Was Unchanged From 2009," in the journal Health Affairs.

The Report's Key Findings:

Health care spending growth remained steady. National health spending increased by only 3.9 percent in 2010, virtually the same rate as in 2009, which was 3.8 percent. The recession and the poor economy have been the main factors in keeping this rate low, as individuals have both lost coverage along with their jobs or have chosen to forgo medical care to save money. Growth in the use and intensity of health care goods and services slowed in 2010, the report found.

Overall Medicare spending growth is down. In 2010, Medicare spending grew by 5 percent, down from 7 percent growth in 2009. Medicare spending will continue to remain low as the Affordable Care Act is implemented. This includes provisions to crack down on fraud, improve care coordination, and prevent disease and illness.

Private Plans Shifted Costs to Consumers.  While growth in spending on private plan premiums slowed slightly, from 2.6 percent in 2009 to 2.4 percent in 2010, spending on benefits saw a bigger drop, with growth in private insurer spending on benefits shrinking from 3.7 percent to 1.6 percent.  Meanwhile, out-of-pocket spending for consumers increased from a growth rate of 0.2 percent in 2009 to 1.8 percent in 2010. These data indicate that health insurers are cutting benefits and shifting costs to beneficiaries through higher co-payments, deductibles, etc.

Overall Federal spending on health care is up. Federal spending on health care is up, but this increase is a product of a struggling economy and the fact that the federal government is stepping in to fill gaps caused by loss of private health insurance coverage as employers cut back or employees lose jobs. In an effort to prevent the loss of health coverage for individuals who've lost jobs in the economic downturn, Congress enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  This included a temporary increase in state Medicaid payments.