On Oct. 27, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell spoke about the quickly-approaching open enrollment period.
Ms. Dora Garcia Korea from South Texas was the introductory speaker that drew in approximately 25,000 people from around the nation. Ms. Korea is a long-time community organizer and educator of the Affordable Healthcare Act since its inception.
“We’ve made a large impact and it’s with the support of many of our organizations and local officials that made it possible. Every year has been challenging, but it’s nothing compared to the challenges our President faces to keep healthcare accessible to all,” Korea said.
Ms. Korea welcomed President Obama into the call shortly after her introduction. President Obama said that this was the largest call hosted from the White House. “That is a testament to how much passion and how many people are behind this effort.”
Nov. 1 marks the Affordable Healthcare Act’s fourth open enrollment period, and President Obama wanted to get everyone ready. The president assured the people that he and his administration would be working alongside them until his final day in office.
“The good news is — thanks to the ACA, 20 million Americans have gained coverage. The nation’s uninsurance rate now stands at its lowest ever.”
President Obama did admit there is still work to be done — as there are millions more people still without coverage. He addressed the claim about premiums potentially increasing in some states, and wanted to make sure everyone had the facts they needed in order to reach those who don’t get coverage from their jobs, don’t qualify for Medicare, or don’t qualify for Medicaid.
“Those are the folks who for too long, fell through the cracks and they are people whom ACA was designed to help.”
President Obama continued to say, “For them, if they are shopping in the marketplace — in 2017 — because of the tax credit that detect people from rising premiums — more than 7 in 10 consumers will be able to find a plan for less than $75 per month. And if they are a returning customer shopping for the lowest plan offered — the average premiums would actually fall by $28 per month compared to last year.”
In this case, the Affordable Healthcare Act would decrease premiums by 20 percent.
“The one thing that has been a challenge since we passed the Affordable Healthcare Act is the politics of it. Because there is a fraction of people who continually try to root for failure despite the fact that we keep on insuring people…The bottom line is that most people are going to be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable their options are IF we can just get them to see for themselves” said the president.
President Obama went on to say that this act would hopefully avoid surprises as he and his administration hoped to encourage people to check out options for themselves at healthcare.gov.
Some take-away key features of the ACA were:
- Ends Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children: Health plans can no longer limit or deny benefits to children under 19 due to a pre-existing condition.
- Keeps Young Adults Covered: If you are under 26, you may be eligible to be covered under your parent’s health plan.
- Ends Arbitrary Withdrawals of Insurance Coverage: Insurers can no longer cancel your coverage just because you made an honest mistake.
- Guarantees Your Right to Appeal: You now have the right to ask that your plan reconsider its denial of payment.
- Ends Lifetime Limits on Coverage: Lifetime limits on most benefits are banned for all new health insurance plans.
- Reviews Premium Increases: Insurance companies must now publicly justify any unreasonable rate hikes.
- Helps You Get the Most from Your Premium Dollars: Your premium dollars must be spent primarily on health care – not administrative costs.
- Covers Preventive Care at No Cost to You: You may be eligible for recommended preventive health services. No copayment.
- Protects Your Choice of Doctors: Choose the primary care doctor you want from your plan’s network.
- Removes Insurance Company Barriers to Emergency Services: You can seek emergency care at a hospital outside of your health plan’s network.
President Obama gave a call to action to the audience saying it is our duty to help bring awareness to those who have yet to sign up for health care and are potentially cynical about the marketplace because of political noise encompassing it.
“I know the amazing impact you can make in your communities by helping folks get covered…I’ve seen you do it,” the president said. “I cannot be more grateful for your commitment. This has been one of the honors and privileges of President — is to see each of you, engaging in this life changing and lifesaving work.”