With this series we will bring you the latest news in insurance and access to care. This week we the Supreme Court ACA decision, the impact of insurance coverage gaps, and record breaking ACA enrollment.
For more news in diabetes advocacy and policy, check out our compiled news updates here.
In California v. Texas, the most recent attempt to strike down the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favor of upholding the law. After months of anticipation, the ACA, and the millions of Americans the law helps cover, are safe.
Why it matters: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of Americans currently have health insurance through the ACA. Over 20 million Americans will continue to have access to their health insurance. The ACA helps people with diabetes in particular by outlawing discrimination against people with preexisting conditions, expanding healthcare coverage for young adults, and increasing access to free preventive health services. After the Supreme Court decision, we are hopeful that the ACA is here to stay.
A recently published study assessed the impact of gaps in insurance coverage on access to medical care. The study found that coverage disruptions, where individuals were not covered by insurance for a period of time, were common with up to 10.7% of adults reporting a coverage gap and 25% of adults reporting a loss of coverage in the prior year. Uninsured adults and those with extended coverage gaps had significantly worse access to affordable care than those who were fully insured.
Why it matters: This research emphasizes the importance of increasing access to affordable, quality health insurance. People with diabetes are especially vulnerable when they are not covered by insurance due to the high cost of therapies and devices they need to survive. While the Affordable Care Act has made healthcare more accessible for people with diabetes, more can be done to ensure that no person with diabetes has to forgo care due to a lack of insurance coverage.
According to the HHS, over 31 million people have healthcare through the ACA and Medicaid expansion. The HHS has also indicated that uninsured rates have decreased in every state since the law’s coverage was expanded. Since the ACA special enrollment period began on February 15th, 1.2 million Americans have signed up for coverage.
Why it matters: Because a record number of Americans have accessed health insurance through the ACA and Medicaid, uninsured rates are decreasing. Access to insurance is imperative for people with diabetes to receive quality, affordable healthcare. These high rates of insurance coverage are particularly exciting because ACA insurance is becoming more affordable thanks to the most recent COVID-19 relief package. While many people with diabetes continue to experience barriers to care, this increase in ACA coverage is promising.
What's next: The special enrollment period to enroll in ACA health coverage will end August 15th.