Snap Fact #141

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act Helps Children And Young Adults In Many Ways!
There are several myths and distortions afoot concerning the Affordable Health Care Act. First of all, the republicans have cleverly and incorrectly framed the Act, "Obama Care". In fact, the bill is a product of the Congress. The President introduced a workable proposal and then properly stood aside to let Congress do its work. 
During the incredible struggle to pass the Bill, over the objections of the powerful insurance and the drug lobbies, the Republicans inserted 136 poison pills into the Act to assure it's future failure. In fairness, the resultant bill is a mish-mosh of good and bad features. The President signed the bill knowing that it was only a start and that much was needed to improve this imperfect Bill. We should understand that after the 2012 election, and with a Progressive Congress at the President's back, the Act will be dramatically refined and improved.
This 6 part SNAP-CAP series will highlight the bold positive achievements of the Affordable Health Care Act that benefit American Citizens. This first installment highlights how the benefits to our youth.

ALREADY IN PLACE: 
1. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to nearly 8 million children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private coverage. CHIP and Medicaid coverage for children continues through 2019.The Act's "maintenance of effort" provision requires states to maintain eligibility for children enrolled in the Medicaid program in families earning under 133% of the federal poverty level and in the CHIP program until September 30, 2019. If states do not comply, they can be sanctioned and lose all federal Medicaid funding. The Act also extended funding for CHIP through September 30, 2015.

2. No pre-existing condition exclusion for children under age 19 - The Act prohibits health plans and insurers from denying insurance to children due to pre-existing conditions (a similar provision for adults goes into effect in 2014). 
Starting in 2014, this provision will apply to plans that were in existence at the Act's enactment (known as grandfathered health plans). Furthermore, once a child is enrolled, health plans and insurers cannot deny coverage for services related to a pre-existing condition.

3. Coverage of dependent children up to age 26 - Dependent children can remain on their parent's health insurance until age 26. This only applies to health plans that offer dependent coverage; there is no requirement that all plans must offer it. Since the Act's enactment, over 2.5 million dependent children have been able to retain coverage due to this provision.

COMING SOON: 

4. Services in private health plans that are specifically focused on childrenThe Act requires that health plans participating in Exchanges provide "pediatric services including oral and vision care" as part of the mandated Essential Health Benefits. Health plans must also provide, at no additional cost, all screening and services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for children ages 6 to 18, all immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all screenings in the Bright Futures guidance developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Health Resources and Services Administration (this does not apply to grandfathered plans). For example, USPSTF recommends screening children for obesity and offering or referring obese children to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to promote improvement in weight status. 

5. Extended Medicaid coverage of children aging out of foster careBeginning in 2014, states must expand Medicaid coverage to children who have aged out of foster care from age 21 up to age 26. Research clearly documents the significant health needs of older children in foster care and their poor health outcomes as adults. Continuing Medicaid coverage will ensure these youth have access to ongoing health care during this pivotal time.