There has been much in the news about the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare as it is sometimes called). The one year anniversary of its passage is today and there are many opinions regarding the intent, effectiveness, and ultimate benefit the new law will provide for people who are employed and already have health insurance. It is important to not let the misconceptions color the reality of what has been accomplished by the passage of this law.

A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found here regarding the health care law questioned Americans a series of true or false statements. Over 65% of Americans knew that the new law provides subsidies to low and moderate income Americans, prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of health status, provides tax credits to small business who offer coverage to their employers, and requires everyone to have some type of insurance. A smaller number of Americans know that the law expands Medicaid to cover more poor people. Unfortunately almost 60% of Americans do not know that the law contains nothing about “death panels”, does not offer assistance to illegal immigrants to help them get insurance, does not reduce benefits for those on Medicare (although it does reduce payments to some plans), does not create a new government run plan, and does not require businesses to provide health insurance. 22% believe the law has already been repealed. Those believing in the information that was untrue tended to rely on certain media outlets as the source of information regarding the health reform law.

The federal government has put together a very good website that discusses what is in the Affordable Care Act, the timeline for implementation, and has some very specific information for people with special needs. In addition, there is a very easy to use section that allows people to look up health care providers (currently hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and dialysis facilities) and compare when looking for a service.

Despite political posturing, the longer the law is in place the more likely it is to remain in effect. Already in happening is better access to insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, the ability to keep children on the parents insurance until they turn 26, the requirement that insurances must pay for preventive services. In addition, policies can’t be canceled because of problems with paperwork. This year prescription drug discounts for seniors, an elimination of co-pays for preventive services for seniors, a requirement that insurance companies spend over 85% of the money collected on care, and better access to home care will take effect. In addition, several quality initiatives should result in better, less expensive care. I would encourage you to go the government’s website and look at the benefits for yourself rather than relying on media to provide information. Here is another source of information regarding current benefits.