Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Start Looking at the Practical Effects of the Affordable Care Act; Health Care; Public's Focus Will Become More Personal, Less Political

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Start Looking at the Practical Effects of the Affordable Care Act; Health Care; Public's Focus Will Become More Personal, Less Political

Article excerpt

The countdown starts this weekend: In 100 days, starting on Oct. 1, millions of families across the nation will have an opportunity to enroll in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

About half the states in the country will implement all aspects of the law, including the important Medicaid expansion that will enable low-income uninsured state residents to gain health coverage. Some of the benefits of the law will be available to residents of Missouri.

Here are some other things about the law to watch for, as we approach and get beyond the Oct. 1 milestone.

First, the public's focus on the ACA will become increasingly personal and decreasingly political. The closer we get to Oct. 1, families will shift their focus to the nuts and bolts of the new law and how it affects their lives. They will be able to pick and enroll in a health plan, and, for the first time, get financial help to reduce out-of-pocket premium costs.

Families that can't pay for health coverage today will be looking for details about the new premium subsidies that will make health insurance much more affordable.

Consumers seeking increased value for their health care dollars will learn how new insurance marketplaces give them real and meaningful choices choices that put consumers in the driver's seat, enabling them to select health plans best suited for their needs, with access to physicians they trust.

People with diabetes, asthma, or cancer whether they currently have coverage or will be looking for coverage will seek assurance that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage, or charge discriminatory premiums, due to their pre-existing conditions.

While some Republican leaders vow that the ACA will be a top issue in the 2014 elections, political rhetoric will become a sideshow as we move closer to Oct. 1: What will really matter will be how the ACA, in the most practical ways, affects the lives of Missourians and other American families.

Second, there will be significant and perceptible differences from one state to another in terms of health coverage, costs, and quality of care with states that actively participate in all provisions of the law faring much better. …

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