Tag Archive | "Obamacare"

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Supreme Court Agrees to Review ObamaCare — Again


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — In a carefully, crafted  effort to re-tool ObamaCare, the U.S. Supreme Court last Friday agreed to tackle a case related to the Affordable Care Act signed into law in March 2010.

At the heart of this case, King v. Burwell, is whether health insurance for middle-class and low-income residents should be subsidized by the federal government. Subsidies such as tax credits were included in the reform law. King v. Burwell, like the similar Halbig v. Burwell case, has a long history in thecourt system. On July 22, two U.S. courts delivered opposite rulings on the subsidies.

Without these subsidies, most small business owners or unemployed people wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance.

Halbig, one of several pending ObamaCare lawsuits, is expected to be heard again  by a full circuit court panel on Dec. 17. The King case would likely be heard next spring.

Proponents of the ACA said this is a move, though touted as an unlikely one to have direct impact on Connecticut, more than 80,000 Obamacare enrollees should watch closely. Connecticut is one of 14 states that administers its own health insurance exchange through Access Health CT.

This would be the third time the Supreme Court take up cases related to Obamacare delving slight blows to the law. In 2012, five justices upheld the requirement that most Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax–a victory for President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats. This ruling, joined by Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., was the most significant federalism decision since the New Deal in the 1930s.  Howev3er, the court limited  expansion of Medicaid, which provides health care to poor and disabled people.

In June 2014, the court ruled that the family-owned businesses should not be forced to provide insurance that covers contraceptive services because it violates the business owner’s religious beliefs.

This latest move does not bode well for the Obama administration. That’s because the legislative branch is run by the Republicans, who have tried to repeal the law 55 times.

However, Republicans will face an uphill battle in achieving this goal through the judicial branch. One conservative spokesperson said that incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should try a conciliatory approach.

“Republicans should use reconciliation to fully repeal Obamacare,” said Ken Cuccinelli, who heads the Senate Conservative Fund.

The law had originally required states to run their own healthcare exchanges. Most states in the South rejected that idea, forcing residents to move to other states that offer Obamacare.

According to a report by the nonprofit health policy organization, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. up to 7.3 million people are expected to be on this insurance.

 

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Black Women “Sick and Tired” of Low Quality Healthcare, Infant Mortality


Editor’s Note: This article was made possible by the International Center for Journalists’ Community Health Reporting Fellowship and is a part of an ongoing series on Race, Gender and Medicine in America.

By Ann-Marie Adams

Connecticut has the highest infant mortality rate for black babies.

That’s according to the state’s own 2009 health disparities report, which reveals consistently higher infant mortality rates than white and Hispanic infants.

The infant mortality rate represents the number of deaths among babies under one year old per 1,000 births. The latest report shows the number of deaths for black babies between 2001 and 2005 was 314 or 13 percent compared to Hispanics with 251 or 6.5 percent, or Whites with 515 or 3.9 percent.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsNaturally, someone should ask why there’s such a high death rate among black babies in Connecticut. Is it caused by improper nutrients from food desserts in urban areas? Or is it a systematic attempt—unmitigated long after the infamous Tuskegee experiment—to harm black people in America? Many so-called Third World countries do not have such high infant mortality rates. So I’m leaning toward the latter, considering socio-economic factors that are already impacting the black family.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionBefore you get your panties in a bunch, consider the history of race and medicine in America. If you do, you will contextualize the contemporary conditions and see that this is not an alarmist approach to scant evidence. It’s a singular theory based on American history and years of research that have produced enough facts to examine this crisis.

According to The Hartford Guardian’s own investigation of Greater Hartford-area hospitals, doctors are more willing to prescribe medications that damage black women’s reproductive organs. The atrocity of substandard healthcare for many black women can be in the form of benign neglect in a hospital emergency room to egregious malpractice such as forcing medications against will—a common and often criminal–practice at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. The most popular culprit is Risperidone, which seeps into breast milk and enlarges breasts.

Besides robbing many black women of their breast milk, Risperidone contributes to the mammification of the black woman’s body. It’s the most frightening side effect of this drug known to cause death. Similar steroidal and non-steroidal medications include cyclobenzprine, hydrocodon-acetaminophn, methylprednisolone, cogentin, gabapenten and haldol. Many cause hyper-lactatemia, a fancy word for inflating a woman’s breast with deadly toxins.
The problem is not just in Connecticut, however. This also occurs at the Maryland-based National Institutes of Health, where doctors recruit women to use experimental drugs that cause harm to their reproductive system and then send them off to deal with the later consequences of an unknown drug.
Black men also face similar harm with pills that decrease libido or contribute to erectile dysfunction. But this story about the health industry makes a sharp departure from the overall black experience when we look at the intersection of race, gender and medicine.

The syphilis experiment from 1932 to 1972 by the U.S. Health Service generated national outrage and is well-known around the world. The lesser known experiments of black women like Henrietta Lacks did not cause an uproar.

This makes me want to scream.

Consider this: Black women are more likely to die of heart failure, cancer, and other diseases because of deficient medical care. They are also more likely to have uterine fibroids, which are commonly associated with stress. The confluence of stressors is attributed to socio-economic conditions. For example, black women are three times more likely than white women to be unemployed. And though you have gender inequality among wage earners, black women earn 70 cents on the dollar for the same work as other workers.

Mental Health Series: African-Americans Negotiate Mental Illness

Perhaps President Barack Obama, who benefited from the overwhelming support of black women voters in 2008 and 2012, should consider implementing policies that mitigate centuries of medical abuses and character assassination of the black woman in America. Besides the medical maladies they face, most black women are considered angry—even if they wear pastel colors and glue their mouths shut.

The angry woman trope is laughable among the righteously discontented, who are now wondering when they will we see policies that have a direct impact on their lives in every sphere. Let’s deal with specificity. When will black women have equal access and opportunity?

Do they need to storm the White House to get Obama’s attention? With two years left in the White House, perhaps he should consider forming a task force of multi-ethnic black women who will attack these deficiencies in the health field and change the way health care is administered to them. Are these deficiencies factored into the web of policies linked to Obamacare, which supposedly gives Americans access to quality and affordable healthcare?

If single black women consist of 70 percent of black households that overwhelmed voting booths to elect the first black president, then we ought to see specific policies that address these constituencies—sooner rather than later.

Like Fannie Lou Hamer who helped reshape the Democratic Party in the 1960s, some of us black women are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Mental Health Series: Reclaiming Black Men’s Mental Health

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams the founder and editor of The Hartford Guardian. She has worked for The Hartford Courant, The Washington Post, The Root.com, and People Magazine. She has taught U.S. History and Journalism at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter: @annmarieadams.

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CT Reports Final Tally for Obamacare Enrollees


HARTFORD — The final tally is in for the number of enrollees under the Affordable Care Act through Connecticut’s website.

According to Access Health CT officials, 208,301 people enrolled in under the ACA or Obamacare between Oct. 1 2013 and March 31, 2014.

State officials report that of the total amount,  78,713 have enrolled in a private insurance carrier, Qualified Health Plan.

Additionally, the number of enrollees surged on the deadline, March 31. AHCT received 5,365 voicemail messages from consumers with questions regarding their application and collected contact information from approximately 5,000 individuals who attempted to enroll in person or online and encountered some difficulty.

“Over the past two weeks, our team has made follow up calls to each of those individuals to assist them through the enrollment process, and we have now completed all open enrollment applications,” said Kevin Counihan, Access Health CT CEO.  “We’re honored to have worked with so many organizations throughout our State and helped tens of thousands of previously uninsured or underinsured residents obtain the care they deserve.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projected that Connecticut would enroll 33,000 consumers in private insurance plans, a target that was exceed in December 2013, and more than doubled in the final tally. Of the 208,301 enrollees, 78,713 enrolled with a private insurance carrier and 129,588 enrolled in Medicaid.

Of the 78,713 residents who enrolled with a private insurance carrier, 78 percent received a tax subsidy and 22 percent did not.  These final enrollment numbers were calculated after redeterminations, duplications and cancellations from insurance carriers.

“These final enrollment numbers highlight Connecticut’s success in implementing the Affordable Care Act,” said Governor Dannel Malloy. “Thanks to the hard work of AHCT, state agencies, community health centers, and faith-based organizations, we far exceed our goal and as a result more people have access to more affordable healthcare.”

State officials also plan to do follow up work to “help us understand the extent of the impact we’ve had so far, build on this success,  and continue efforts to make Connecticut a healthier place to live and work,” said  Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, co-chair of the Access Health CT Board. 

Until open enrollment begins on Nov. 15, 2014, residents will only be able to shop for coverage through Access Health CT under special circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or loss of insurance coverage from an employer.

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Choose One America: Obamacare or Reparations


By Ann-Marie Adams

With only one day left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, opponents are still removing logic and common sense from arguments that tout the ACA as unsound. Basically, they don’t want to subsidize insurance premiums for Americans on the government exchange.

This debate, seen as another attempt to gut the law, comes weeks after the Congressional Budget Office released a report that says the ACA, or Obamacare, would nix 2.3 million jobs. According to some, this would shake the foundation of the American economy.  Most recently, a divided federal appeals judge said it was “an unmitigated disaster.”

Really?

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsBefore we move into hyperbole, we should examine the drawn-out brouhaha (more than 50 attempts to repeal it) over the ACA in an uncomfortable context.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionThe health care law, otherwise known as Obamacare, allows uninsured people—mostly poor whites, the elderly and people of color—access to health insurance. The main arguments against it are that universal healthcare—found in other developed countries, is too costly for America—the richest nation on the planet. And Americans will become lazy and work less because they have access to healthcare.

Sounds ludicrous? It is.

But I would urge some opponents of universal healthcare to consider the life of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cells were taken without her consent and then used to develop cures for polio, vitro fertilization and other vital scientific breakthroughs in science.

This fascinating topic was recently discussed at the Avon Free Public Library. Two of the Lacks family members participated in the discussion. The series offered an opportunity to explore not just health, ethics and race but the healthcare industry itself.

For more than 60 years, the healthcare industry made billions from Lacks’ cells. And today the Lacks family still wonders why their mother’s immortal cells did so much for science, and they can’t afford health insurance. After all, some in the Lacks family argue, their mother’s He-La cells benefited “the whole world and all they got was her Bible and medical records.”

The story of Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cells is both amazing and unsettling. And the question of how race played into her healthcare is not difficult for some of us to answer. That’s because we know that race is a central theme in America. And it is well established that race affects healthcare delivery and outcomes.

This is not an attempt at what some people would call “race hustling.” It’s about highlighting certain facts in American history. I’m aware that many Americans have not studied U.S. history. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us who did should acquiesce to them.

Consider this: In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins took slices of the woman’s tumor and decided to grow them, so he could “figure out the causes of cancer.” This is long after doctors found a dime-size tumor on her cervix. They kept sending her home until she protested and begged for admittance, so she could be treated. By then, her body was riddled with cancer.

UnknownThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book based on the Lacks family, details the encounter.  And people are rightfully asking whether this family is owed something for thier contribution to humankind. This is a good conversation to have amid the tired healthcare debate over whether to repeal Obamacare.

I think giving access to healthcare for the Lacks family and others in similar situations should be favorable over reparations. At least, this is one way of looking at it. Or perhaps it’s time Americans opposed to Obamacare choose: universal healthcare or reparations?

Some would argue for both.

Interestingly and ironically, the same argument used for not paying reparations has been used in the Lacks family’s case. Many are quick to offer statements and questions like: It’s impossible to calculate how much money is owed. Those who did the crime did their time on earth and died. And who would pay?

In both cases, the consequences of those past actions by individuals and institutions still linger. The Lacks story, among many, illustrates the need for universal healthcare in America.

Americans should consider universal healthcare as a human rights issue, or think of universal healthcare as payback for all the historical wrongs done not just to the Lacks family for “the good of humankind” but to all those other wrongs done in the name of science.

The most famous one in public memory is the Tuskegee Syphilis study, which began in 1932 and ran until 1972. In this study, the United States Public Health Service conducted an experiment in watching black men died from syphilis. The doctors didn’t tell these men they had syphilis. And they didn’t get healthcare. This story, like many, illustrates black oppression and medical neglect.

The Tuskegee case is more prominent, however, because it happened to black men. But there are other lesser-known atrocities, which happened to black women. Besides the Lacks case, we have the notorious J. Marion Sims, the so-called father of gynecology who used enslaved African women as experimental subjects.

These stories are known because the records exist. And unless we want to have more reasons to dig up America’s past medical atrocities, we should perhaps silence the chatter about repealing Obamacare.

If talk about a repeal of Obamacare persists, we should juxtapose that discussion with a public debate about reparations.

I’m so ready for that.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is the founder of The Hartford Guardian. Follow her on twitter @annmarieadams.

Photo: Ann-Marie Adams/The Hartford Guardian: ( l to r): Shirley Lacks, Victoria Baptiste, Dr. Robbin Smith.

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Don’t Believe the Hype Against Obamacare; Sign Up for Insurance


If you are uninsured and live in the Greater Hartford area, all roads should lead to Community Health Services on Albany Avenue to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

Don’t believe the hype against so-called Obamacare. That’s because your insurance premium could be less than $100. And if you are eligible for Medicaid, your insurance premium could definitely be $0.

editorialbannerthumbAt this point, responsible individuals would have done research and found out the facts for themselves before they let people give them all kinds of cock and bull stories. And check this out: The people who are discouraging, or sabotaging other people’s effort to sign up, have insurance themselves. Yes, people. They have insurance.

If you want to be covered by health insurance this year, the deadline to sign up is March 31. Appointments are available for next week. If you miss this deadline, you have to wait until November to sign up for the following year. But for now, any individual could try the service for one year and judge for herself whether there are drawbacks to being on this particular insurance. Duh!

For many, it takes less than 30 minutes, with the help of a staff person, to sign up. And it’s best to go before crunch time because even now the state’s website, accesshealthct.com, occasionally malfunctions. And CHS workers and others have to call in to AccessHealthCT to sort out kinks in the system.

To date, more than 5 million people across the nation have enrolled.  And in Connecticut, more than 160,000 have enrolled, surpassing the state’s targeted goal of 100,000.  We can only think more people are not enrolled because anemic strategies have been employed to reach the people who need the insurance the most.

That’s unfortunate.

But with 10 days left to go, uninsured people should embrace the unknown and sign up today. With uncertainty, it is indeed better to be safe than sorry. And as we have seen on numerous occasions, ignorance coupled with an unexpected medical condition, can be extremely expensive.

Get to it.

 

 

 

 

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Access Health CT’s Appeal Process for Frustrated Residents Should Be Less Painful


By Ann-Marie Adams

Access Health CT, Connecticut’s official health insurance marketplace, reported a single-day record number of individuals applied for coverage by midnight on Dec. 23: more than 6,700. This figure, officials of the state agency boasted, puts the total number enrolled from Oct. 1 to Dec. 23 at about 62,000.

Impressive.

But people whose applications were not processed, or who had been waiting on the phone for more than 90 minutes, are not impressed.

Almost 300,000 Connecticut residents do not have health insurance.  In Hartford County alone, 98,000 people lack coverage. Of that amount,  34,000 are in Hartford. Most of the uninsured in the capital city and the state are people of color and would have surely benefited from the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It’s the first nationwide health reform since President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society effort with Medicare in 1965.

Just think. If the state’s quasi-nonprofit agency had planned a more effective and inclusive enrollment period to meet the demand, many more people would have signed up, so that they could have had comprehensive health insurance effective Jan. 1.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsFor the thousands of people who did not get to enroll, hearing that they can continue to enroll up to March 31 without a tax penalty does not soothe the pain of learning they would have to wait another 30 days from enrollment for insurance to kick in, especially if they have a pre-existing need for insurance.  All they have to look forward to at this point is more snafus or bureaucratic mazes to navigate.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionConsider this: For one individual, enrolling online was a chore that failed. On Dec. 3, she filled out an application and submitted it through Access CT’s portal. By Dec. 23, she had yet to receive confirmation that her application was processed. She also tried to log in, but was kicked off the site. So at about 4 p.m., she called the 800 numbers listed on Dec. 23. She received a recording saying that she should leave her number and someone would return her call the next business day.

This woman tried again several times until her last call at 10:06 p.m. — hoping to get someone on the phone. After waiting for about 30 minutes, someone answered and asked her name and age then put her on hold for 90 minutes. At 10 minutes before midnight, another agent came on the line and said that it was too late to enroll her.

It was a curious experience that demands answers: was the woman put on hold that long because she was over 40? Was Access CT screening calls so they could sign up mostly customers under 40? Why was there a recording throughout most of the day on Dec. 23, saying customers should call back the next day? How many people of color were signed up? If the state doesn’t have that number as reported earlier, then can we know why? And most importantly, how many of the 34,000 uninsured people in Hartford were signed up?

There were other reported issues. But the main concern now is whether those individuals who were put on hold for waits lasting about an hour or who were locked out of the site, would be considered enrolled.

Although there are many assisters and navigators who have worked hard during the last several months, The Hartford Guardian has witnessed much bumbling during the enrollment period here. In fact, there were numerous warnings, one from Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra himselfsaying that “if you don’t market it and recruit people in an appropriate place, you could still end up with a lot of uninsured.” And that is the case — because of the incompetence and arrogance of those who guided the enrollment campaign.

There is also clearly conflict of interest and cronyism involved in how resources and marketing efforts were distributed, especially in Hartford. And these strategies and conflicts impacted the number of people and which segments of the population got enrolled on the exchange.

For instance, The Guardian couldn’t help but notice that the so-called Navigator for the city of Hartford was the Hispanic Health Council, an agency whose founding member is Mayor Segarra. We also couldn’t help but notice that Juan Figueroa, who was president of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, is now Segarra’s acting chief of staff. Figueroa also had a hand in crafting strategies leading up to the state’s health reform push that began in January 2013. And he sits on the board of director for a news outlet charged with being the official organ of everything positive about Access Health CT.

We also noticed that resources were directed to community papers, which quietly ignored the fact that there was reportedly only one person in the North End to cover half that populous section. And that most of the marketing efforts in the city targeted the South End of Hartford, just one of the city’s 17 neighborhoods.

We are happy to see that Access Health CT has taken steps to correct its errors and is now “actively reaching out” to those people who were on hold Dec. 23. These frustrated applicants should indeed now be considered eligible for coverage effective Jan. 1.

However, appeal process in place for others should also take into account the insufficient recruitment efforts made in some city neighborhoods, which were seemingly overlooked because of sub-par marketing strategies and outreach.

An we hope the appeal process won’t be as painful as it was waiting online for 90 minutes without a positive outcome.

Individuals interested in filling an appeal should either call 855-805-4325 or mail their appeal to Access Health CT Appeals, P.O. Box  # 670, Manchester, CT 06045-0670. 

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is founder and editor of The Hartford Guardian. Follow her on twitter.

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Health Care Reform in Slow Gear for Hartford


Healthcare reform is coming to Connecticut on Oct. 1.

And with less than a month to go, Connecticut’s congressional delegation was scheduled to meet on Wenesday to help ramp up an awareness campaign in the city of Hartford and the state, hoping to convey the import of this major reform spawn by President Barack Obama’s administration.

Access Health CT, charged with the gargantuan task of setting up an online marketplace to help enroll people, have been traversing the state with informational meetings, sending out press releases to mainstream media, particular ethnic circulars and local gate keepers who traditionally disseminate information to their family and friends network. Access also attended community fairs, concerts and festivals. They are, indeed, aggressively getting the word out about Access Health CT. Last Wednesday, officials said they were ready for the Oct. 1 rollout.

But what it all means for Hartford residents, especially people of color, has yet to be told.

editorialbannerthumbCase in point: at an Aug. 6 block party in the Blue Hills neighborhood, a twenty-something white man approached a black woman sitting at a table. He mumbled something about insurance and was shooed away. When asked about the nature of the man’s spiel, she said she didn’t hear most of what he said, “just something about insurance.”

The Hartford Guardian was present and found it interesting that Access sent a white male into an all-black community to promote the Affordable Care Act. Why not hire someone from the neighborhood?

This health care program, also known as Obamacare, are for people without insurance, who cannot get insurance because of preconditions and a whole host of categories. Most likely, it is for people who are unemployed and underemployed, many of whom are black and Latino.

A recent phone conference with the ethnic press conveyed the importance of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on communities of color and the poor. Several callers wanted to know about resources for community outreach, or for doing substantive stories about the program.  That’s because implementation of Obamacare, as its sometimes called, is a $5 billion industry; and many companies will be cashing in. As usual, not many small and minority businesses have been in that loop during the early stages.

Additionally, many ethnic papers would like to go beyond referring people to a website and instead disseminate substantive information through a cultural lens. And it was evident in the recent conversation, which also illustrated the knowledge gap that will certainly have a ripple effect in communities of color, if not mitigated soon.

With less than 30 days to go, ethnic communities will have to play catch on mountains of information that have accumulated since January. But many also want to make one thing very plain. They are not interested in just being consumers of the health insurance marketplace. They want more.

On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, people of color are asking for not just civil rights but also economic justice.

How the state spends millions of dollars to implement this major healthcare reform will be a significant indicator on the question of equity and whether we will have to march on the Washington Mall again in another 50 years.

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‘Obamacare’ Offers Young Adult Health Care and Peace of Mind


 By Charlene Muhammad, Final Call

Motivated, and armed with an architectural degree, Rumeisha Bowyer set out to obtain employment in her field, with health care benefits thrown in.

Two years and several full- and part-time jobs later, however, the 24-year-old is still searching for both.

“It’s very frustrating because I know I’m very, very educated but nothing’s happening at the moment,” Bowyer noted. “And health care is very important because if I get really, really sick, I won’t be able to afford my own health insurance.”

Bowyer’s mother, Deanna Bressler-Montgomery, is grateful that her daughter still has access to health care, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), comprehensive health care reform signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. ACA will allow Bowyer to remain on her mother’s health care insurance plan until she turns 26.

Prior to the ACA, Bowyer, who is minimally obese, has asthma and eczema, would have aged out of her mother’s health insurance plan a lot sooner. Parents could only cover their children until they turned 19, unless they were disabled; or up to their 24th birthday if they were enrolled in college full time.

Under the ACA, young adults can remain on their parents’ plan up to age 26, even if they are out of school, married or living on their own, if they cannot get health insurance through an employer.

Now, Bowyer can continue receiving medications and treatment for her health problems, as well as preventive care services, like the kickboxing and nutrition classes she currently attends.

“The weight training class is very beneficial because I’ve been struggling with weight for years. They offer free programs with the health insurance I have. If I didn’t have it, I would have to pay for a gym membership or do the basic run around the block, run around the corner, or run around the park,” Bowyer explained.

Scheduling time for such activities during safe, daylight hours is challenging because she works two part-time jobs, the incomes from which don’t add up to even $1,000 a month. Still, Bowyer is saving the money she earns working her part-time jobs so she can start paying for her own insurance when she turns 26 and is dropped from her mother’s plan. Meanwhile, she continues to search for a job with benefits that will kick in before then, she said.

According to the Center for Consumer I n f o r m a t i o n and Insurance O v e r s i g h t, an arm of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a part of the Department of Health and Human Services,prior to the ACA, 42 percent of young adults switched or lost coverage once they graduated. In addition, 76 percent who were then uninsured did not get needed medical care.

“The Affordable Care Act requires plans and issuers that offer dependent coverage to make the
coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26. Many parents and their children who worried about losing health insurance after they graduated from college no longer have to worry,” explains the center on its website.

In California, 435,000 young adults gained insurance coverage as of December 2011 due to the health care law, according to the National Health Interview Survey, a data collection program of the National Center for Health Statistics. Nationally, the provision has allowed 3.1 million young adults to get health coverage.

“The ACA has meant my family saves money because I couldn’t afford to pay the $500 a month for her
insurance. I can at least try to afford the 10 percent and not go into debt. It’s better than paying the whole thing,” Bressler-Montgomery said.

For Bowyer, being able to stay on her mother’s health insurance plan has meant being able to buy asthma medication and keeping the disease under control. The 30-day supply of medication needed for her skin condition costs more than $100, and even with the $10 co-pay the family is able to cope, noted Bressler-Montgomery. She said she shudders to think of how much they would have had to pay out of pocket for Bowyer’s treatment had the young woman not been able to stay on her health insurance plan.

“I don’t like the fact that (some people) call it ‘Obamacare,’’ she said. “I think it’s negative but if they want to call it that, that’s okay. It’s the best care they can get right now.”

This article was made possible by a New America Media fellowship sponsored by The California Endowment.

Photo caption: Rumeisha Bowyer and, seated, her mother Deanna Bressler-Montgomery. Photo courtesy of Deanna Bressler-Montgomery

 

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