American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Applauds Benefits of Affordable Care Act for Heart Disease and Stroke Patients One Ye

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One year after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, prospects for a healthier future have improved dramatically for millions of heart disease and stroke patients.  As a result of reforms implemented over the last year, patients now have more options and protections for attaining quality, affordable health care.  For example, preventive services have become a reality for many families and Medicare beneficiaries.  Lifetime limits on coverage are now banned.  Children with medical conditions can no longer be denied coverage and no American can be dropped from their coverage simply because they become sick.  Annual wellness visits are now available for Medicare beneficiaries and prescription drugs are more affordable for many on Medicare.  New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans also allow patients who have been denied coverage due to their medical condition to receive insurance coverage for a wide range of benefits including physician's services, hospital care and prescription drugs.  Although these plans may not be a feasible option for everyone, they are a pathway to insurance coverage for patients who cannot access coverage in the individual insurance market. 

For those who need help navigating complex insurance issues, the new Consumer Assistance Programs (CAP) offer help to consumers who have problems with their coverage.  Under the law, 30 states have received funding to implement the CAP programs which can be a useful resource for individuals who need insurance assistance.  In addition, all young adults including those with congenital heart disease and other chronic conditions can continue to receive necessary treatment under their parents' plan until age 26.   These protections have already improved the health insurance marketplace for many Americans and more options will be made available as other reforms take effect in the coming years.  With medical expenses for heart disease and stroke expected to triple by 2020, it's more important than ever to implement reforms that provide access to affordable care for patients. 

The anniversary of the Affordable Care Act should be a reminder of how far we've come in overhauling a broken health care system that too often doesn't meet the needs of patients with heart disease or stroke.  Let's build on these accomplishments and continue to help all Americans gain access to quality, affordable care in their communities. 

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SOURCE American Heart Association