The Promise of the Affordable Care Act
Over the last several decades, the United States has made a strong push to ensure that all children and youth in our country have access to health coverage. And we've made great strides—today, 90 percent of kids have health coverage. Despite this high coverage rate, there are times in which children lose coverage and can spend months trying to regain it. These periods with no health coverage—which are often associated with major transitions in a family such as a parent losing a job and the employer-provided family health coverage that came with it—can have devastating consequences on the health and well-being of children and can wreak havoc on family financial stability.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes important provisions to try to keep kids covered—allowing young people to stay on their parents health insurance up to age 26, providing subsidies to allow families to afford health coverage, and prohibiting health insurance companies from discriminating against children with preexisting conditions. But in order for the promise of the Affordable Care Act to become a reality we need to take steps now to ensure that when major life transitions occur and families lose coverage they can quickly and easily enroll in new coverage. In this policy brief, The Promise of the Affordable Care Act, The Practical Realities of Implementation: Maintaining Health Coverage Through Life Transitions, I, along with Ken Jacobs and Laurel Lucia from UC Berkeley's Labor Center and Beth Capell of Health Access California, offer concrete suggestions to federal regulators and to states setting up health exchanges on steps that they can take together to ensure that children and families can continue to receive the health care they need even when a major disruption in the family causes a loss of coverage. Please take a look at the article in the California Journal of Politics and Policy and leave your comments below.