By Frank Lewis
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) says, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, over 5 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums.
On Tuesday, Brown applauded the Administration’s announcement that more than seven million Americans have enrolled for insurance through the new health care marketplace. Monday marked the last day for Americans to seek health insurance before the first enrollment period deadline expired, leading to a surge of citizens of all backgrounds enrolling online, or through a navigator, to ensure that they too can be covered. With states yet to report their enrollment numbers, the final tally is expected to be even larger, Brown said, calling it a victory for the health law which he says has already helped millions of Ohioans be healthy and better protected.
Brown said 5,053,000 Ohioans with pre-existing conditions, including up to 643,000 children, will no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums. Brown said 1,355,000 previously uninsured Ohioans will now have new health insurance options through either private health plans available for purchase in the Marketplace or through Medicaid.
“Today’s announcement is excellent news for the health and well-being of our citizens,” Brown said. “It means that seven million Americans—and counting—can live healthier, better protected lives. But we shouldn’t stop. The health law has already helped millions of Ohioans receive quality care at an affordable price. There are millions more who should take advantage of this opportunity to benefit themselves and their families.”
Brown said between 2011-2013 more than three million individuals gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service such as a mammogram or immunization. Brown went on to say in 2013, more than 212,000 Ohio seniors and persons with disabilities have saved nearly $205 million on prescription drugs, with an average discount per beneficiary of $964.
“In fact, since the health law was enacted, Ohioans with Medicare have saved nearly $500 million on prescription drugs overall,” Brown said. “About 2,079,000 Ohioans have benefited from expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits.”
He said 97,000 young adults have gained health insurance because they are now allowed to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26. Brown said because annual and lifetime caps have been eliminated, individuals no longer have to worry about their health benefits being cut off.
Brown said Ohio’s approximately 200 health center sites have received $128,429,000 to improve both their care and their facilities for patients, including the 495,000 Ohioans who received care at a health center in 2012, and because the health law mandates that the dollars Ohioans pay for health insurance are used for their medical care—rather than for executive bonuses and insurance ad campaigns, insurance companies have sent rebates to approximately 6,300 Ohioans, worth an average of $133 per family.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.