10 ways the Affordable Care Act is making Maryland healthier

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How is the Affordable Care Act serving Maryland?

On the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a release with some statistics this week helping to describe the impact:

  1. Gallup recently announced that the uninsured rate in Maryland in 2014 was 7.8 percent, down from 12.9 percent in 2013.
  2. Twenty-eight states, including Maryland, and Washington, D.C. have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. As of January 2015, 295,951 Marylanders have gained Medicaid or CHIP coverage since the beginning of the first Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment.
  3. Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of each premium dollar on health care or improvements to care, rather than administrative costs like salaries or marketing, or they have to provide a refund. This means that 206,102 Marylanders with private insurance coverage benefited from $17,265,604 in refunds from insurance companies, for an average refund of $140 per family.
  4. For the first time under Federal law, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. Maryland has received $7,857,349 under the new law to help fight unreasonable premium increases. Since implementing the law, the fraction of requests for insurance premium increases of 10 percent or more has dropped from 75 percent to 14 percent nationally.
  5. The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. In Maryland, 2,251,000 people, including 872,000 women and 585,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage.
  6. As many as 2,542,844 non-elderly Marylander have some type of pre-existing health condition, including 319,986 children. Insurers can no longer deny coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes, under the health care law.
  7. 76 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 1,575,000 in Maryland.
  8. Through Fiscal Year 2013, Maryland has received $36,104,899 in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the health care law. This fund was created to support initiatives focused on programs such as tobacco cessation, obesity prevention, health coverage enrollment assistance and increasing the primary care and public health workforce, so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives.
  9. In Maryland, people with Medicare have saved nearly $230,365,408 on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act. In 2014 alone, 79,857 individuals in Maryland saved over $82,534,523, or an average of $1,034 per beneficiary. In 2015, people with Medicare in the “donut hole” received a 55 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and a 35 percent discount on generic drugs. And thanks to the health care law, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs will continue to increase over time until the coverage gap is closed. Nationally, over 9.4 million people with Medicare have saved over $15 billion on prescription drugs since the law’s enactment, for an average savings of $1,598 per beneficiary.
  10. The Affordable Care Act increases the funding available to community health centers nationwide. Health Center grantees in Maryland have received $97,246,532 under the health care law to offer a broader array of primary care services, extend their hours, hire more providers, and renovate or build new clinical spaces. In Maryland, 17 health centers operate 127 sites, providing preventive and primary health care services to 302,229 Marylanders, including 38,421 Latinos and 140,056 African Americans.

More statistics are available at HHS.gov