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Issue 5:

What’s the cost of staying healthy in America? How will policy reform change the future of healthcare?

How much do americans spend on healthcare?

If you have healthcare, you, your employer, your union, or a combination pay a premium* to your insurance company. How have healthcare premiums changed compared to wage earnings?

Since 2001, annual employer contributions increased from $5,269 to $10,944, and worker contributions from $1,787 to $4,129.

*Premiums are fees that pay for coverage of medical benefits for a defined benefit period.

Sources: #1 #2 #3

The United States spends an estimated
$2T annually on healthcare expenses
(17% of our annual GDP), which is more than any industrialized country.

Health expenditures per capita (USD),
public and private, 2009

On average, the United States spends $7,960 per person, with Norway the next highest at $5,362 per person.

Sources: #1 #2

How does the money get spent?

United States  Switzerland  Canada
Germany  France  Japan

Sources: #1

Who are the uninsured?

A majority of uninsured Americans cannot afford to buy healthcare. Most uninsured families earn an income below the Federal Poverty Level. ($22,050 for a family of
four in 2010).

$22K (Federal Poverty Level) or less
$23K–$55K  $55K–$90K  $90K+  

Sources: #1

Approximately 50 million
Americans are uninsured.

2 million of those uninsured Americans
are hospitalized annually.

Sources: #1

Of those 2 million, 58% result in bills
of more than $10,000.

Unpaid healthcare bills from the uninsured get shifted to insured consumers through higher premiums.

Sources: #1 #2

What is the affordable care act?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare” aims to increase access to healthcare, introduce new consumer protections and reduce costs.

What has the Affordable Care Act already changed for young adults (18–29)?

  • All new plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance.

  • The new law includes new rules to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to pre-existing conditions.

  • Under the new law, young adults are allowed to stay on their parent's plan until they turn 26 years old, even if they are:

    • Married
    • Not living with their parents
    • Attending school
    • Not financially dependent on their parents
    • Eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan

  • No cost sharing, such as copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for:

    • Most birth control and
    contraceptive planning
    • Well-woman visits
    • Sexually-transmitted infection
    screening and counseling
    • Domestic violence screening
    and counseling

    Ending gender rating: Insurers can’t charge women higher premiums than men, which in some cases may be up to 81% more on the same plan.

Sources: #1 #2

By 2014, every American must have health insurance. With some exceptions for hardship or low income, uninsured Americans will have to pay tiered penalties.

Government-mandated “affordable insurance exchanges” will allow consumers to find and enroll in health plans if they’re not insured by employers.

Sources: #1 #2 #3

What healthcare choices will you have with ACA starting in 2014?

  • If you’re unemployed with limited income up to about $15,000 per year for a single person, you may be eligible for health coverage through Medicaid.

  • You will be able to buy insurance directly in an Affordable Insurance Exchange, a marketplace featuring options for affordable and qualified health benefit plans.

  • If your income is less than the equivalent of about $43,000 for a single individual and your job doesn’t offer affordable coverage, you may get tax credits to help pay for insurance.

Sources: #1

What the candidates are saying: Why should people oppose or support it?

  • People with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage
  • Private insurers must justify premium increases and spend at least 80% of premium dollars on healthcare
  • Small businesses get tax credits to help pay for health insurance
  • New preventative services are now free through private insurance plans
  • Young adults can have coverage on their parent's plan through age 26
  • It gives the federal government too much control over the health care system
  • It costs too much
  • It cuts money to Medicare by trying to bring down future health care costs in the program
  • It will make America a less attractive place to practice medicine
  • It will discourage innovators from investing in medical technology
  • It will restrict consumers’ choices
Sources: #1 #2 #3