President Obama, in his weekly address, noted that when he took office seven years ago more than 15% of Americans were without health insurance.
In addition, he said that people who did have coverage, insurance companies could deny them coverage or charged them more just because they’d been sick.
He also lamented the fact that too many Americans gave up their dreams of changing jobs or going back to school because they couldn’t risk giving up their employer-based insurance plan.
He, however, noted today that was not the case as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect, and now nearly 18 million Americans have gained coverage.
“In fact, for the first time ever, more than 90 percent of Americans are covered. Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or be charged more just because they’ve been sick. 137 million Americans with private insurance are now guaranteed preventive care coverage. We’ve done all this while cutting our deficits and keeping health care inflation to its lowest levels in fifty years. And we’ve begun filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we change jobs, lose a job, go back to school, or start that new business, we can still get coverage,” said the President.
He cited the experience of Heather Bragg, a small business owner in Bluffton, South Carolina.
He said last year Braggs wrote him a letter explaining how for years her family had depended on her husband’s job for their insurance. But, now thanks to the Affordable Care Act, her husband Mike had the freedom to switch jobs and join her at the small business she’d launched a few years ago.
The President stated that through the Health Insurance Marketplace, the family was able to find better coverage that actually saved them hundreds of dollars a month.
“For the first time,” Heather wrote, “we’re not living paycheck to paycheck; we’re able to pay our bills and put some money back into savings,” quoted the President.
“And because Mike doesn’t have to work nights or weekends anymore, he can coach their son’s soccer team and tuck the kids in at night. And you can’t put a price on something like that,” he added.
The President encouraged people to look around at their new coverage options, and advised that they still have time to get covered on the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016.
“If you haven’t looked at your new coverage options, you’ve still got time to get covered on the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016. You have until January 31 – next Sunday – to enroll. Just go to HealthCare.gov, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, or call 1-800-318-2596 FREE,” he advised.
He also posited that most people buying a plan on the Marketplace can now find an option that costs less than $75 a month.
He further stated that people who already have insurance should take a few minutes to shop around.
“In fact, consumers who switched to a new plan for 2016 ended up saving an average of more than $500,” he noted.
“That’s what the Affordable Care Act did. This is health care in America today. Affordable, portable security for you and your loved ones. It’s making a difference for millions of Americans every day. And it’s only going to get better,” he concluded.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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