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7:41 AM CDT, Thu March 30, 2017

More Health Access, More Health Changes with ACA

March 31, 2014, 09:00 AM
More Health Access, More Health Changes with ACA
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Here we are, four years after the Affordable Care Act was approved. The old saying that “time flies when you are having fun” may or may not apply, depending on where you fall in the transition process and experience spectrum. We often hear the worries and concerns from physicians and healthcare organizations, but what about the patients? What has their experience been in this process?

A recent article in the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, a small publication off the coast of Seattle, provides a small but interesting view of the situation in their article, “Patients, providers report mixed success with Affordable Care Act.”

Pamela Ingalls, a local artist, views her new insurance plan as a welcome change. Replacing a high-deductible plan that resulted in more out of pocket expenses, her premiums are now half of what they used to be and her plan covers the medical care she needs. This includes visits, tests, and prescriptions.

“I feel like I’m getting something for the money I’m spending, plus the security of insurance. I guess other people — who have had regular insurance — have felt this kind of security all along,” she said. “But it’s a new experience for me, and I’m very grateful.”

It has been reported repeatedly in the news that with the additional covered patients, physician offices and clinics should brace for a wave of patients. On Vashon, it appears that while physicians are busy, representatives of the island’s largest clinics and practices say they have not been overwhelmed by a flood of newly insured patients seeking care.

For most people, the open enrollment period to obtain health insurance for 2014 ends on March 31, 2014, unless a person has a significant event, such as losing a job that provided insurance, gets married or has a child. Open enrollment for 2015 will open in the fall. People who are eligible for free insurance, however, may enroll to obtain coverage this year at any time.

No doubt, the Affordable Care Act is touching and affecting every part of healthcare, caregivers and patients alike. The adaption of electronic health record (EHR) systems can ease processing for doctors, and patients will greatly benefit from experiencing more communication and inside knowledge involved in their treatment. The benefits also include analytics and insight that comes from the data collected on EHR.

The bottom line in any discussion about access to healthcare is improved patient outcomes. Any product, device or service that ends in better health for patients is worth exploring.

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