We've heard the term a bazillion times since the last presidential election – so much so that it has almost become white noise. BUT, with the first phase of the Affordable Care Act taking effect last week, it’s more important than ever that we pay attention. Health insurance coverage is a huge financial issue for most survivors and so we want to make sure you understand what these new changes are and how they work.
As young adults with a history of cancer, having any sort of gap in insurance coverage is a terrifying prospect. Many of us are too old to be covered by our parents’ policies but can’t get coverage of our own due to our “pre-existing conditions.” For those that may be fortunate enough to secure a health insurance plan, the exorbitant cost of monthly premiums makes it impossible. In fact, young adults across the board are the most likely of all age groups to be uninsured – about one-third of us lack any sort of coverage. This is not okay.
If you don’t have a chance to watch the whole thing, here are the main things for you to know:
- How many of you got booted off your parents’ insurance when you turned 19, got married or moved out on your own? Under this new health care reform, you’ll be covered until you’re 26 years old – regardless of whether you’re married, living at home or a student.
- As we all know, cancer is an expensive disease – especially given that the cost of treatment, usually over several years, far exceeds what an insurance company (up until now) would pay. The Affordable Care Act will eliminate those nasty caps on coverage – meaning that no matter how expensive your treatment, you won’t be stuck paying all the bills on your own.
- What pre-existing condition?! As the last of the changes go into effect in 2014, health insurance companies won’t be allowed to deny you coverage just because you’ve had cancer. Until then, there will be new options available for those who are uninsured and have a pre-existing condition; for more information, check this out: http://www.healthcare.gov/center/brochures/pcip.pdf.
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information, research and analysis on health issues.