The Affordable Care Act has been the star of healthcare conversations in the last year.
While there is no doubt this act will bring major reform to the country's health care industry, there are disagreements about the primary purpose of the legislation. The Affordable Care Act is about much more than simply transforming Individual Health Plans to bring affordable medical insurance to more Americans.
The most important aim of the Affordable Care Act is to save money on health care costs and provide affordable medical insurance to everyone living in this country. To accomplish this purpose, three goals have been established and set in motion. While some of these goals are long-term in nature, the benefits will be seen over the short term as well. Most of the changes to be implemented through the Affordable Care Act will be completed in 2014, but the advantages will be much more far reaching.
Competitive Individual Health Plans
To bring down the cost of individual health insurance, state exchanges will be established. These exchanges will provide a free market that makes it easy for consumers to shop for the most affordable medical insurance for their needs, akin to how InsureMonkey currently serves our clients.
The exchanges will also serve as a type of watchdog over the industry, only including companies in the exchange that meet their minimum standards for customer service, affordability and patient care.
Accountability to Individual Health Insurance Companies
To ensure individual health insurance companies put their premium income back into patient care rather than lining their own pockets, the government will hold individual medical insurance companies accountable for their actions. There will be requirements for covering preventative care, in hopes of saving money on catastrophic health care by keeping people healthier from the beginning.
There will also be prohibitions on coverage limits, so members of individual health plans can rest assured their insurance coverage will be there for them when they need it most.
Benefits to the National Economy
When health care is on a more stable financial path, the country's economy will follow suit. The Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years. The next decade should see further deficit reductions of more than $1 trillion.
The cuts will come through reductions in overspending and eliminations of waste and abuse within the healthcare system. Agencies are already in place to begin reviewing current procedures within individual health plans and health care facilities to ascertain where the belt tightening can occur.
The Affordable Care Act begins with ensuring that everyone in this country has affordable health insurance, but it goes far beyond this primary goal. By implementing accountability for individual health insurance companies and providing a free market to shop for affordable health insurance, the health of our country – and our country's budget – will be greatly improved.