GARY | The regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services answered questions about the federal Affordable Care Act during a session Friday at Ivy Tech Community College.
Kenneth Munson said the act addresses issues in the private insurance system and Medicaid and Medicare. Changes will increase coverage for more people and improve their quality of care, he said.
“It works to change some of the worst practices of the private health insurance system,” Munson said about the law, which recently was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Munson's talk was sponsored by the Lake County Minority Health Coalition.
“Since (the law) passed, there have been so many questions in my community,” said Rosie Thomas, Indiana Minority Health Coalition executive director. “Everyone is happy, but they truly don’t know what the long-term benefits are going to be and how it’s going to affect them.”
Under the act, insurance companies no longer will be able to deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing health condition — a rule that already exists for children. Everyone will be included in 2014, and insurance companies will not be able to charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.
The law also means more people will be eligible for Medicaid.
“It will cost money, but for a lot of folks who don’t have Medicaid or Medicare or private insurance, it’s costing money, anyway, because they’re getting care ... when it’s too late,” Munson said. “It costs money, but it saves money because you don’t have people going in for care at the worst and most expensive time.
For more information on the new law visit www.healthcare.gov.