In 2009, 1.5 million people in the U.S. lost health care coverage, and the number of people covered by private insurers fell from 201 million to 194.5 million. Government programs including Medicaid and Medicare did not completely replace the gap.
In order to remedy the health care problem, President Obama signed a health care reform law in spring 2010. The law was enacted in two parts: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PDF) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and was amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (PDF) on March 30, 2010. The name “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) is used to refer to the final, amended version of the law.
The ACA will not be fully implemented until 2014 and among the benefits, Americans will have the following new rights and benefits:
- Expanded Medicaid coverage to include children
- Voluntary public insurance program for working adults
- Home visiting services
- State-run health insurance exchanges
These reforms will apply to all new health plans, and many existing health plans as they are renewed. Many other new benefits of the law with direct impact on older adults and young people have already taken effect, including rebate checks for older adults in the Medicare, a Federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older and certain younger people with disabilities.
Health Care Benefits for Children & Older Adults: The Affordable Care Act (PDF)
Families USA: Health Reform Central
Kaiser Family Foundation
Family Matters: Public Policy and the Interdependence of Generations (PDF)