This book will help you take full advantage of the ACA, reduce your medical costs, and find a physician. You will discover the value of having a health care advocate and obtaining a second opinion. You will learn how to best use complementary and alternative (non-traditional) treatments and how to choose a hospital and survive your stay there. You will learn how to win when an insurance claim is denied. If you are among the millions of currently uninsured Americans, you should know about the ACA and how it will provide health insurance to you.
An alarming 48.6 million Americans (15.7% of the population) had no health insurance in 2011. Even those with health insurance find it too limited, too expensive, muddled with exclusions, and lacking coverage for pre-existing illnesses. Escalating health care costs have caused large businesses to provide their employees less expensive insurance policies, which means fewer benefits. Employees shoulder more of the financial burden in the form of higher deductibles and co-payments. It's not surprising that the number-one cause of bankruptcy in America today is medical bills.
Health care has become more fragmented rather than coordinated. Office visits to physicians are shorter, and patients often have to change to another doctor when their employer switches to another insurer. Medical and hospital errors account for more yearly deaths than do car accidents.
The current shortage of primary care physicians will intensify as more baby boomers obtain Medicare and millions of Americans who currently lack insurance obtain Medicaid and health insurance through state insurance exchanges--a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA will solve some, but not the majority, of the problems plaguing our current health care system. The more knowledgeable, conscientious, and assertive you are, the more likely you will obtain the health care that you and your family deserves.
This book will help you and your family understand and take full advantage of the Affordable Care Act. This legislation mandates that almost every American have health insurance; otherwise they will have to pay a penalty on their income tax. Medicaid will be gradually expanded in the states that have chosen to participate in the expansion. Many states, sometimes with the help of the federal government, are setting up their own health care exchange. The federal government is setting up exchanges for states electing not to do it themselves. The exchanges are expected to become operational in October 2013.
The insurance exchanges were created to sell reasonably priced insurance to Americans not covered by government-financed insurance (such as Medicaid), their employer, or a parent's policy, and to those dissatisfied with their current commercial health care policy.
Under the ACA, patients with pre-existing illnesses will not be denied insurance, and pre-existing illnesses will be covered. Insurance companies will gradually no longer be able to restrict the amount of money they pay out annually on claims (the yearly limit) and will eventually no longer be able to restrict how much they will pay for the treatment of illnesses (the lifetime limit).
This book suggests many ways to reduce your health care costs, and it provides strategies for selecting and keeping a primary care physician and, if needed, a specialist who is right for you. Reading this book will help you better understand your rights as a patient and the importance of having an advance health care directive, a health care advocate, and a health care power of attorney, and attending realistically to end-of-life decisions.
You will also discover how to choose the best hospital and survive your stay there, and how to successfully challenge and win a health claim denial, use complementary and alternative (non-traditional) treatments most effectively, and prepare for future changes to our health care system.