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How the H.R.1628 “American Health Care Act” Leaves Near-Elderly People Behind for the Future

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The American Health Care Act or H.R.1628 narrowly passed with the majority vote. This is not good news for the sickest people or the elderly in the United States. This Act gives tax breaks and lowers premiums for the richest people in the country while raising premiums by over $5,000 on the sick and elderly.

This law would cut the current deficit by around $295 billion over the next ten years and initially lower premiums for the first two years, but it will leave a projected 24 million people who either lose their current coverage or choose to go without it for the next ten years.

Who Stands to Lose the Most?

The group of people who will suffer the most is people in the age group of 50 and up. This includes seniors with low incomes or disabled people on fixed incomes. It is estimated that the number of seniors who will be uninsured would rise from the current 13 percent to an incredible 28 to 29 percent by 2026. This group of people is less likely to be eligible for Medicare as they aren’t old enough to receive it yet, and they are more liable to be sick.

This is also the group who has the highest expense rate in medical bills. For example, insurance companies could charge a 60-year-old person five times the price they will charge an early 20-year-old person. An individual who is currently living at 275 percent below the Federal Poverty Level will face a premium jump of almost $3,000 within the first two years and $4,000 by the year 2020. This could devastate many people on low or fixed incomes. Insurance deductibles and copays could also face a steep increase in cost.

The Loss of Medicaid & Coverage Gaps

Seniors and individuals who rely on Medicaid to help cover their medical expenses will face a cap, and they won’t be able to use Medicaid to help cover costs. There is also a clause in the new healthcare reform that states anyone who let their coverage lapse for more than 60 days will face an additional 30 percent late fee on top of their premium cost.

Pre-Existing Conditions

In the time before the American Health Care Act, most pre-existing conditions were covered by insurance, with a rare one or two cases being routinely denied. With this new bill passed, there are over 50 conditions that count as pre-existing that will no longer be covered by your insurance. This can also cause premiums to go up, and people will pay more for keeping their insurance. The Health Care Reform will allow each state to decide what counts as a pre-existing condition and what doesn’t count as a pre-existing condition. A fraction of the conditions that H.R.1628 will count as pre-existing include:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Lupus
  • Mental Disorders Such as Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Depression
  • Organ transplant
  • Paralysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Stroke

Several conditions could see a rise in premiums. Some of those conditions are asthma, high cholesterol, kidney stones, Lyme disease, pacemaker, seizures, and ulcers. This bill hasn’t made it all the way through to be a sure thing yet. If it does, it could spell disaster for thousands of Americans. The sick and the elderly need to be protected, not pushed out of the system. The higher premiums will make it almost impossible for people to get the care they require when they need it. Something has to change, and it has to change fast.