I think that the essential health benefits are the best aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Essential benefits are a list of basic health services that all insurers must cover in their packages. These essential benefits made it so insurers could no longer turn people away if they were sick often or had a preexisting condition (Belluz, 2017).
The best opportunity for improving the ACA would be incorporating a system for guiding consumers through their options and helping them get the best plan that is available to them. The ACA’s individual mandate (mandate requiring that almost everyone is required to purchase insurance) and online marketplace (a market of all insurance plans) means that people with little experience buying health insurance are purchasing from an online market that is also fairly new. However it may look, implementing a some system of guidance would improve the insurance selection process for consumers.
If I were to explain the ACA to my friend I would find it most important to share that choosing not to purchase insurance under the individual mandate will result in paying a penalty called the shared responsibility payment. I think this would be important for them to know, so that they know they must make this payment if they choose to opt out.
They will likely find the “marketplace language” as the hardest aspect of understanding the ACA. There are many unfamiliar words with unfamiliar meanings used when describing the insurance market, and keeping track of all those meanings while also learning about how the law works can be confusing at first.
They will find “A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Decision” helpful, because it provides more insight into key components of the ACA by recounting the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether those components were constitutional. “ACA vs. AHCA: Tax Credits, Insurance Premiums, and the Big Picture” would be a good source because it compares the ACA with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill proposed to replace the ACA. Finally, a good source for them to learn more about essential health benefits would be “The Republican Attack on ‘essential health benefits,’ explained” which gives an overview of essential health benefits and how taking them away can affect the healthcare market.
A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Decision. (2012). Focus on Health Reform. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
AHCA vs. ACA: Tax Credits, Insurance Premiums, and the Big Picture [Web log post]. (2017, Mar 16). Retrieved July 2, 2017, from http://www.sycamoreinstitutetn.org/2017/03/16/ahca-vs-aca-individual-market/
Belluz, J. (2017, May 4). The Republican attack on “essential health benefits,” explained [Editorial]. Vox. Retrieved July 2, 2017, from https://www.vox.com/2017/3/23/15031322/the-fight-over-essential-health-benefits-explained