One Year Anniversary of Health Care Reform – How did it effect Californians

Today we mark the Anniversary of the Health Care Reform.

One year ago today, President Obama marked a major milestone by signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. From that moment, health reform became a reality for Californians.

Depending on their coverage, many Californians are now receiving:

* Extended dependent coverage up to age 26
* No more pre-existing condition exclusions for enrollees under age 19
* No more annual and lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits
* No more member cost-sharing on preventive services
* And more

Although Insurance Premiums have risen due to the improved quality, we are seeing with the new Insurance Commissioner Jones a better control of the 2011 rates. Blue Shield announced to stop for 2011 further rate increases, and Anthem reduced their rate increase for July from 16.4 % to 9.3% .

The mandate forcing Americans to buy insurance in 2014 or being penalized, is hotly contested in the courts with 27 states challenging the law and over 20 lawsuits filed. The courts have split 3-2 in favor of the mandate thus far.

Unfortunately almost nothing has been done to keep the medical inflation in check. Medical Cost and Insurance Premium go hand in hand. Over the past ten years the amount that health care insurers pay out to hospitals, doctors and patients has spiraled, rising by 5% to 11% each year, from roughly $1.3 trillion in 2000 to $2.5 trillion in 2009. Yet few patients would say that the care they receive today is twice as good as the medical attention they received in 2000.

So let’s hope that amongst all the political parties, all the lobbies of pharmaceutical, doctors, insurances consortium and lawyers a common goal of “how to reduce the medical inflation”, can help us further to improve medical care in California and throughout the United States.