Tomorrow, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) turns 2 years old. Even though it's only partially implemented, it's already helping families save health care costs and making it possible for small business owners to more easily provide health insurance to employees.
- The ACA ends the "Job Lock." Starting a business can be risky for those with families to support. On top of everything else involved, if you or a family member has a pre-existing medical condition, then currently leaving your job (and losing the health insurance that comes with it) to start a businesses is often a non-starter. The ACA will end this job lock and makes it possible for new entrepreneurs to start new businesses without worrying about whether their next health care policy will cover their pre-existing conditions.
- Small Business Tax Credits. Because of the ACA, 4 million small businesses now have access to tax credits to help with the cost of health insurance premiums. These lower premiums mean more coverage for employees and more flexibility for employers to grow their business and hire more workers.
- Small businesses can band together to lower their costs. When fully implemented in 2014, small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance for employees through state run exchanges. These exchanges will give small businesses the advantages that big business has today -- more choices and lower rates for covering their employees.
Small businesses aren't the only ones saving. Individuals and families are also seeing the health care costs controlled because of the ACA:
- Insurance companies will be held accountable for how they spend you health insurance premiums. If insurance companies don't spend at least 80% of your premium dollar on medical care and quality improvements instead of advertising, overhead and profits, then they'll have to provide you a rebate.
- No more co-pays or deductibles for preventative services. Whether it's flu shots, cancer screenings or well-child visits, preventative services will be free as part of your health insurance. This means better care and more money in your pocket.
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to raise rates without accountability or transparency. If insurance companies must now justify rate increases of 10% or more. This has already led insurance companies slowing their premium increases.
The Affordable Care Act is nearly two years old. Make your voice heard to your legislators, neighbors and friends to ensure it continues to make health care work for all Americans.