Affordable Care Act in action

The Cancer Support Community recognized the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the tenets of the Affordable Care Act and, in particular, felt that insurance provisions of the law such as removal of lifetime caps, the removal of pre-existing condition discrimination and the option for dependents to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26 would be of benefit for the cancer community. CSC was quick to point out that the important work would, in fact, be in the details of implementation of the law.

As health reform is implemented and you are considering your health insurance options – and especially if you will be shopping for health insurance using a state health insurance marketplace, now is the time to empower yourself to ask questions. It is possible that the level of insurance coverage you have in 2013 will differ from the level of insurance you will have in 2014.  In some cases, you might have more coverage and in some cases, you might not have as much. It will be up to you to ensure that you receive coverage that is most closely aligned with your personal situation.

Yesterday, an article in the New York Times reported that there has been a one year delay on the provision of the health care reform law that would limit the amount of out of pocket expenses to which consumers will be subject.  The original language limited out of pocket expense to $6,350 for an individual or $12,700 for a family per year. These expenses are for coinsurance, copays and deductibles, NOT the insurance premium. The delay of this provision until 2015 means that in 2014, your potential out of pocket expenses could be much higher than the law’s limits. This delay is an important consideration for consumers, especially those touched by cancer or another chronic illness.

So, what can you do? First and foremost, try to keep up-to-date on the latest events.  Healthcare.gov provides information about the health insurance marketplaces and information on what you need to do to prepare to buy insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Kaiser Health News is also a great resource for information.  CSC will also post updates on health reform on its blog in the coming months. Subscribe here.

Next, make sure you know what your need for coverage might be so you may discuss your needs with your insurance company or employer if you get your insurance through your workplace.  If you plan to purchase insurance via your state health insurance marketplace, assess your insurance needs to prepare to evaluate what these plans will cover for you. In order to help you do this, CSC and a number of advocacy partners are working on a checklist to assist individuals as they shop for insurance on health insurance marketplaces. We will provide that information in September.

Finally, know what is important to you and your family and do not be afraid to be a self-advocate. If you or a loved one is currently facing cancer, CSC invites you to connect with one of our Helpline counselors for an Open to Options treatment decision counseling session – you will formulate an itemized list of questions, personalized to your situation that can be shared with your physician, nurse or insurance carrier as you think through your future.  Our team is ready to help at 888-793-9355.

So that no one faces cancer alone.


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