Healthcare - Overview
Since its inception, UULM-MD has worked to achieve universal access to affordable, quality healthcare. UU voices have joined with other advocates to support system changes and incremental advancements, as well as to protect the progress made. UUs believe in the inherent worth and dignity of each person. Quality, affordable healthcare should be available for all in order to provide each individual with health, wholeness and dignity.
Good healthcare is expensive. With each technological advance, care becomes more expensive and fewer people are able to afford it. Doctors and patients face dilemmas in delivery of care, breaks in doctor-patient understanding, inadequate or inappropriate treatments, bankruptcy and illness.
UULM-MD agrees that a federal single-payer system would provide universal coverage, but unfortunately significant consideration of this type of federal and state legislation has not taken place and does not look feasible in the near future. UULM-MD has supported the inclusion of a public option in reform legislation, but this has not yet been proposed or adopted.
Among other measures proposed over the last decade, UULM-MD strongly supported the Governor’s Working Families and Small Business Health Care Coverage Act of 2007, which has expanded Medicaid eligibility for working families and foster children; provided discounts on prescription drugs for seniors; improved access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for low-income adults; created healthcare grants to help small businesses provide benefits to their employees; and saved money.
Affordable Care Act
UULM-MD continues to support implementation of the Maryland implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Maryland Health Connection is a one-stop shop for health coverage in Maryland whether you qualify for public or private insurance. You are able to compare benefits, premiums, and prices. The Exchange’s Customer Service Center in Baltimore provides answers to questions about the new insurance program. The state-based insurance exchange provides access to financial assistance for individuals and families to help reduce the cost of monthly insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. By law, under the Affordable Care Act, most people over the age of 18 must have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a fine.
A few basic facts:
- A number of insurance companies offer a variety of plans through the Exchange Marketplace in Maryland.
- If you have affordable employer-based coverage, that will continue. (If your employer offers you insurance and it meets minimum value health coverage as well as the requirements for affordability that the employer must meet (no more than 9.5 percent of your income), you will not be able to shop in the Marketplace.
- Those on Medicare will continue to receive coverage under Medicare with some Increased benefits, including reduced costs for prescription drugs during the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole,” a yearly wellness exam, and no out-of-pocket costs for some preventive services. It is illegal for someone to try to sell a policy through the Exchange to someone on Medicare.
- You can no longer be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
- A child may continue to be covered on his/her parent’s policy until age 26.
- Lifetime caps on insurance coverage have been eliminated.
- Medicaid will be expanded.
- Coverage through the Exchange is not available for undocumented individuals.