Today we celebrate the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For children the ACA has been a big win. It cut the rate of child uninsurance in half. One of the biggest wins is that children with pre-existing conditions could no longer be excluded from coverage. Before the ACA, parents who had their own business and bought health coverage in the individual insurance market could cover their whole family, except the child that needed health care the most, whether a child with Down Syndrome, a child with respiratory problems, or even a child who had been injured in a sports activity. Under the ACA neither adults nor children can be excluded from insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
Not only did more children become covered because the insurance companies could no longer exclude pre-existing conditions, more children became insured because their parents became insured. Uninsured children are more likely to have uninsured parents. Coverage for the parents meant more children were covered and getting the preventive services they need. Today, 96 % of children in Ohio are covered; a record high!
In addition, the ACA requires states to not reduce their level of coverage for children. In other words a state could not decide that it will reduce eligibility for children from 200% to 150% of the Poverty Level. More protection for kids.
In Ohio because of the ACA former foster youth are covered by Medicaid up to the age of 26, something very important since we know very few of them would have a parent with health coverage that they could brought under.
So we say Happy Birthday, ACA, and hope that our elected officials will set aside “repeal and replace” and instead make meaningful reforms to stabilize the individual market so that all those covered in that market will be protected.