Millions of California Children Benefit from Affordable Care Act
Children’s Health Advocates Celebrate 2nd Anniversary of Health Care Law
OAKLAND, CA - As the 2nd anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) nears on March 23rd, leading children’s health advocates in California are celebrating the gains already made in children’s health coverage – and looking forward to more.
"Millions of California children benefit from game-changing provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have already been implemented in California,” said Jamila Edwards, Northern California Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California. “We want parents to know these benefits are available and easy to access.”
A “Top 11” list of the ACA’s benefits for California’s children is available at www.100percentcampaign.org. These benefits include:
- No-cost preventive care for children. Families are no longer charged a co-pay for preventive services such as well-child visits, immunizations, and developmental screenings. Helps over 1.6 million California children.
- Young adults can now stay insured until age 26. Young adults can now remain on their parents’ employer-sponsored coverage as dependents until age 26. Helps over 350,000 California young adults.
- No more discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. Children under age 19 who have a pre-existing health condition, like asthma or diabetes, can no longer be denied coverage by insurance companies. Helps nearly 600,000 California children.
- Protection of health coverage programs for low-income children. Health coverage provided to California children through Medi-Cal and Healthy Families is now protected from eligibility rollbacks or significant premium increases. Helps over 4.5 million California children.
- Prevents insurance plans from placing limits on health coverage. Insurance companies are now prohibited from placing restrictive annual or lifetime caps on coverage and from rescinding coverage when a person becomes sick. Helps more than 3.2 million California children.
“Moreover, the Affordable Care Act prioritizes the health of all of our children,” added Ted Lempert, President of Children Now, “by supporting nearly two dozen new local early childhood health and development programs throughout the state, investing in over 30 California school-based health centers, and providing the opportunity to ensure a health home for every California child.”
“I know first hand that the Affordable Care Act is an important step in making sure kids get the health care they need,” said Oakland pediatrician Oriaku Kas-Osoka, MD. “I feel privileged to be working in this field during such great change. The Affordable Care Act invests in preventative care, which means that we can address children’s health problems at an earlier stage, avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits.”
Among the many families who have already benefited from the ACA is the Lance family of Trinity County. Six-year old Dylan, who has a congenital heart defect, had been denied insurance coverage in the past, and his mother Jennifer was concerned that her son would be without health insurance when she lost her employer-sponsored coverage. "Before President Obama signed the health care reform law, we had a lot of anxiety related to health insurance for our son and we were forced to make some hard choices,” she said. “We were afraid to leave our son uninsured. I’m glad we were able to get him covered.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the challenge to the law’s constitutionality from March 26 - 28.
“It is ironic on this 2nd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act that the forward-moving momentum of the ACA could be halted by the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership. “The Affordable Care Act has made possible our dream of expanding affordable coverage to more Californians. Millions of children are already benefiting from health care reform, and many more will benefit once the ACA is fully implemented in 2014. It would be a travesty if the full potential of the ACA is not realized for children and families.”
“Another important benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that it protects care for the roughly 4.5 million low-income children currently enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families in our state,” said Corey Timpson, Executive Director of PICO California. “But hundreds of thousands more uninsured children can still be enrolled, today. Families can apply online at www.healtheapp.net or by calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW.”