COLUMBUS - State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 majority ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will continue to move forward with HB 412, to create the Ohio Health Benefit Exchange. HB 412 will establish the Ohio Health Benefit Exchange Program and include an exchange for individual coverage and a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Exchange). The exchange program will provide affordable coverage options for individuals and for small business employers to provide health coverage for their employees throughout Ohio.
"I have met with many stakeholders from Ohio who know that setting up a state exchange under the ACA ruling will bolster a competitive market place where all Ohioans will have access to affordable health care coverage," said Rep. Antonio.
The Affordable Care Act has made a difference across the nation and most importantly here in Ohio. The law made changes to the way insurance companies do business with consumers. Today, because of the ACA 2,138,000 Ohioans received preventative services without co-pay. "Our children have the chance to be healthier because 2,137 kids with pre-existing conditions now have health care coverage," said Rep. Antonio.
The Affordable Care Act helps people with pre-existing conditions buy health insurance after being denied for years along with banning lifetime and annual limits on coverage. Under the ACA, approximately 97,000 young adults have gained health care coverage in Ohio because they can stay on their parent's health plan up to age 26. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, insurance companies selling individual policies could deny coverage to women due to pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and having been pregnant. With the ruling upholding the law, women will continue to benefit with new preventative coverage without cost sharing.
According to Families USA, a national health care advocate, approximately 17 Ohioans died each week in 2010 due to lack of health insurance. Many people put off seeing a doctor when they become ill because they feel they cannot afford it. The report established a direct link between lack of coverage and premature death.
"The Affordable Care Act brought fairness and security to a health insurance system that should have provided that from the beginning. We must continue to develop policies under the ACA that will ensure middleclass families are healthy and safe with access to quality healthcare," said Rep. Antonio.
In August of 2012, Ohioans will begin to see checks in the mail from insurance companies due from the ACA's 80/20 rule requiring insurers to spend at least 80 percent of health care premiums on health care or improvements to care or they must refund the difference. In Ohio, 143,000 residents will benefit from a total of $11.3 million in rebates this summer, or an average of $139 for each family covered by a policy.
The Affordable Care Act set the stage for Ohio to create new policies to ensure access to health care coverage and affordability. HB 412 will establish an Ohio based exchange and agency to continue to improve overall quality and access.