Benefits of health care reform

This guest column was originally published in the Williston Observer.

In the two years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, Americans are seeing the benefits. Nearly 86 million Americans have received free preventive services such as routine check-ups and cancer screenings. Over 105 million Americans no longer have lifetime limits on their insurance coverage. Two and a half million young adults up to the age of 26 now have affordable insurance through their parents’ health plan. And 360,000 small businesses have taken advantage of tax credits to help them provide health insurance for two million workers.

In Vermont, as a result of the law:

4,300 young adults up to age 26 now have health insurance through their parents’ plans.

24,000 children and 120,000 adults have health insurance that provides free preventive services.

82,000 seniors have received Medicare preventative services free of charge.

6,800 seniors have saved $4.8 million on prescription drug costs, an average savings of $710 per senior.

700 small businesses received tax credits to maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.

$37.9 million in public health care grants have been awarded to community health centers, hospitals, doctors and other health care professionals to improve health outcomes.

Additionally, the Affordable Care Act has limited the amount of money health insurers can spend on expenses unrelated to health care and required justification for rate increases of 10 percent or more.

Starting in September, the law will also require health insurers to provide Vermonters with clear and consistent information so they can easily compare health care options.