implementation of the affordable care act (aca) provides multiple opportunities to prevent new viral hepatitis infections and to diagnose and care for people with chronic viral hepatitis. The health care law helps people who are at risk for or living with viral hepatitis in several important ways:
- provide access to insurance for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. Under the aca, people living with diagnosed chronic viral hepatitis who were previously unable to obtain health coverage can no longer be denied coverage and can now access necessary prevention, care and treatment services .
- Prohibit insurance companies from canceling coverage when a client becomes ill or needs to use their insurance for care and treatment.
- eliminate lifetime limits and regulate annual limits on insurance coverage. In the past, insurance companies could set lifetime or annual limits on the amount of insurance coverage that a customer could use. Now, new plans can’t set annual limits on how much they spend on a client’s coverage, or lifetime limits on essential health benefits for your care for as long as you’re enrolled in a plan.
- expand eligibility for medicaid. Under the ACA, states have the option to expand Medicaid to generally include those with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty line, including single adults with no children who were previously not generally eligible for Medicaid. In states that have chosen to expand Medicaid, viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and care services are more accessible to low-income people. (Find out if your state has expanded Medicaid coverage.)
- make coverage more affordable. the aca requires most Americans to have qualified health insurance. To help people access the quality, affordable coverage they need, the ACA created Health Insurance Marketplaces in every state that help consumers compare different health plans and determine what savings they may qualify for. Also under the ACA law, the federal government provides financial assistance to many low- and middle-income consumers who obtain health coverage through the Marketplace. This includes premium tax credits to lower the cost of your monthly premiums, as well as cost-sharing reductions that reduce the amount individuals and families have to pay out-of-pocket each time they receive medical services. (Find out if you qualify for savings.)
- Provide free preventive care. Under the aca, all new health plans must cover certain preventive services, like immunizations and screening tests, without charging a deductible or copay. this includes important viral hepatitis services such as hepatitis a and b vaccinations and hepatitis b and c screenings. For more details, see this Viral Hepatitis Preventive Services chart from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- reduce prescription drug costs for medicare beneficiaries. In the past, one in four seniors went without a prescription each year because they couldn’t afford it. The ACA closes the Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) “donut hole” over time, giving Medicare enrollees the peace of mind that they will be able to better pay for their medications and help maintain Part D. Affordable, sustainable, and working Medicare plan for seniors.
- establish consumer assistance programs to help consumers navigate the private health insurance system. Insurance benefits can vary widely between insurance plans, so these consumer assistance programs can help people with chronic viral hepatitis choose a plan that provides the best coverage for necessary services, such as management and treatment. continuum of chronic diseases.
- strengthen community health centers and expand the primary care workforce. the aca included significant investments in community health centers, which provide primary and preventive care to millions of low-income people in the whole country. these health centers are important partners in the implementation of the viral hepatitis action plan and expand opportunities to integrate viral hepatitis prevention, testing and diagnosis services, and access to treatment for chronic viral hepatitis. Under the ACA law, the federal government has also made the recruitment, training, and retention of primary care professionals a priority.
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act.
if you think you might be at risk, then take action! three online tools help consumers understand and locate recommended screening and preventive services for hepatitis b and hepatitis c.