Top 10 Lung Health Benefits from the Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in March 2010. The public health community - including the American Lung Association - has stood firmly behind this Act from its beginning. The Lung Association continues to strongly support ACA because it benefits millions of Americans with asthma, lung cancer and other lung disease. The law also gives many more smokers access to treatments that can help them quit.
There are many reasons why the Lung Association supports ACA and strongly opposes further attempts to repeal or weaken it. Below are the top 10 lung health benefits from ACA.
- Americans who have pre-existing conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, can no longer be denied health insurance.
- Millions of Americans who couldn't get health insurance before are now able to. People with asthma and other respiratory conditions have options for receiving medical treatment other than going to the ER.
- Insurance companies are prohibited from revoking coverage when a patient gets sick with a condition such as lung cancer.
- Pregnant women on Medicaid are required to have coverage of all quit smoking treatments and medications.
- All new private insurance plans and state marketplace plans must cover treatments that help smokers quit.
- The Prevention and Public Health Fund provides funding to community-based prevention and public health efforts, including coverage of quit smoking treatments and programs that help people control their asthma. Learn more about this fund.
- The Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole" began to close in 2011—meaning Medicare will no longer stop paying for medications after patients spend a certain dollar amount per year. Previously, people with serious lung diseases such as COPD and lung cancer had significant out-of-pocket expenses because of this gap in coverage.
- People with Medicare now are eligible for an annual, free wellness visit focused on prevention.
- Insurance companies no longer are allowed to limit the amount of money they will spend on a patient during his or her lifetime. Patients with serious diseases such as lung cancer sometimes met these previous limits and were denied further coverage for that condition.
- Young people under the age of 26 can remain on their parents' health insurance plan, which is critical for young adults with asthma.