It’s Constitutional: Now What?
Two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act the forecast for the future health insurance landscape is unclear. The media is, unsurprisingly, awash in commentary but for solid background the SCOTUS blog has a down-to-earth summary of the proceedings, and our own Adam Huttler discusses the importance of this victory for the well-being of the arts community.
The Act, while a huge step forward, is far from perfect. Importantly, it leaves implementation to individual states, making it impossible to predict the precise shape of the changes to come.
However, a few broad strokes are clear. Most large-scale changes to the health insurance system must be in place by 2014, a mere eighteen months from now. In this series, we’ll examine a few of the major changes that the Act will bring, how they will affect the arts and creative industries, and what we can expect to see as the coming months unfold:
-All Americans required to purchase health insurance. The individual mandate is the most controversial piece of the Act. There’s a lot of misinformation and fear-mongering on this topic. Instead of taking a negative view, we recognize that a stable risk pool–one which includes the healthy members of the US workforce–is necessary for controlling premiums and driving down the cost of health care for all.
-Affordable insurance exchanges. We’ve blogged about this before; artists and other non-traditional workers need access to clear, user-friendly assistance when selecting an insurance plan. Now the states must provide that service or the feds will step in to take care of it for them.
-No discrimination. Currently, health insurance companies can discriminate against individuals due to pre-existing conditions (by either denying coverage outright or excluding coverage for that condition) or charge women significantly higher premiums. This will become illegal.
-No annual limits on coverage. 2010 saw the elimination of annual limits on the dollar value that insurance companies pay out on a policy in a given year; 2014 takes that one step farther and makes it illegal for insurance companies to cap the total amount that they will pay out over the course of your insurance policy.
I’ll have more to offer on each of these topics in coming weeks. Stay tuned!