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Health News Florida

Report Will Highlight Floridians Now Protected By ACA, But Can They Pay For it?

Money Behind Health Care
Jared Rodriguez
/
Truth Out

The Affordable Care Act is already helping patients with pre-existing conditions in Florida.

Marlys Lenz Cox, a St. Petersburg woman who has battled breast cancer and hepatitis C, is one of them.

"A lot of Americans haven't felt the changes yet. I have because it saved my life,'' she told the Tampa Bay Times.

She was paying $1,100 a month and couldn’t afford it.

"I never really thought I would live a full life,'' Cox said.

Families USA, will release a report on Thursday, July 26 highlighting just how many Floridians with pre-existing conditions, like Cox, will benefit from the law which becomes official in 2014.

Before the Affordable Care Act, these patients could have been denied coverage for this reason.

Nationwide, 19 to 50 percent of non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition, according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

Fifteen to 30 percent  of people under age 65 in good health today are likely to develop a pre-existing condition over the next eight years.

The Families USA report will break the numbers down by age, race, ethnicities and income level.

So while getting insurance as a person with a pre-existing condition will no longer be a problem, paying for it might be.

Clyde Holladay says he was excited about the government insurance plan that would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

He has a history of heart problems, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Then he found out how much insurance would be: $773 a month.

"Almost gave me another heart attack," Holladay joked.

Federal officials say the plan is only meant to cover this group until 2014, when more widespread changes kick in.

That year, the government will offer subsidies for lower-income people; and health insurance exchanges will open.

This is expected to offer lower, more competitive rates because the risk will be spread around.