Nursing Notes
By Nufactor

Infusion Nursing Notes by Nufactor provides education, resources and support to promote successful patient therapy within the infusion nursing community.

Understanding the Affordable Care Act

by Nik Vojicic

The Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” was passed into law on March 23, 2010, and it has changed the landscape of how Americans buy and sell health insurance. This new healthcare law has come with plenty of discussion and some controversy. 

Why Was the Affordable Care Act Put into Place? 
One of the central themes of President Obama’s run for office was that all Americans need the opportunity to have health insurance without fear of being denied coverage by health insurance companies because of preexisting conditions. At that time, there were approximately 40 million Americans without health insurance coverage. Every American now has the opportunity and is required by law to have health insurance either through their employer, Medicaid or Medicare, or they can shop for a healthcare insurance policy at or by calling (800) 318-2596

What Are the Essential Health Benefits? 
The Affordable Care Act requires every health insurance plan sold and purchased in the United States to include 10 essential health benefits. The intent of this is to make sure that Americans have excellent benefit plans and healthcare coverage. The 10 essential health benefits include:
1) ambulatory patient services,
2) emergency services,
3) hospitalization,
4) maternity and newborn care,
5) mental health and substance use disorder services,
6) prescription drugs,
7) rehabilitative and habilitative services/devices,
8) laboratory services,
9) preventive and wellness and chronic-disease management and
10) pediatric services (including dental and vision). 

Why Is There Controversy? 
The first major point of controversy concerning the Affordable Care Act is that it is now law that all Americans must buy health insurance or face a financial penalty at the end of the year. If individuals do not have insurance coverage by the end of 2014, they must pay $95, or 1 percent of taxable earnings, whichever is greater. In 2015, the fine will be $325, or 2 percent of taxable earnings, whichever is greater. In 2016, the fine will be $695, or 2.5 percent of taxable earnings, whichever is greater. Another point of contention is that if individuals do not ever plan to have children, they still must buy healthcare benefits that cover children in their policy (see numbers 4 and 9 of the essential health benefits above). Even if their belief system is against abortion and contraceptive care, they still must purchase these health insurance benefits that are covered under “preventive and wellness and chronic-disease management.” 

Change is always going to bring about discussion. Is this right for you? Is this right for the country? You decide.