Top 10 Lung Health Benefits from the Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in March 2010. The American Lung Association strongly supports the ACA because it benefits millions of Americans with asthma, lung cancer and other lung diseases and helps millions of Americans access quality and affordable healthcare.

Below are just 10 of the lung health benefits from the ACA.

  1. Americans who have pre-existing conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can no longer be denied or charged more for health insurance on the marketplace.
  2. Millions of Americans who couldn't get health insurance before are now able to on the marketplace. People with asthma and other respiratory conditions have options for receiving medical treatment other than going to the emergency department.
  3. Insurance companies are prohibited from revoking coverage when a patient gets sick with a condition such as lung cancer.
  4. States have the option to expand their Medicaid programs to low-income adults, extending quality and affordable coverage to more than 15 million people
  5. Pregnant women on Medicaid are required to have coverage of all quit smoking treatments and medications.
  6. All new private insurance plans and marketplace plans must cover treatments that help smokers quit, cover lung cancer screening for people at high risk for lung cancer and cover recommended vaccines without cost-sharing.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Insurance companies, selling plans on the marketplace, 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.
  10. Young people under the age of 26 can remain on their parents' health insurance plan, which is critical for young adults with asthma.

Page last updated: December 8, 2020

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