Celebrating the ACA anniversary
March 23 marks the 11-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being signed into law. Before the ACA, thousands of low-income adults in Washington had few options for health care coverage. With the provision in the ACA that allowed states to expand Medicaid to more eligible adults, more than 650,000 additional individuals have enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) to get essential health care services.
Under the ACA, health plans must cover essential health benefits such as emergency services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, maternity and newborn care, lab services, preventive care, mental health, substance use disorder treatment services, and more.
Access to these services can be a matter of life or death. Renae, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, found herself without insurance to cover her insulin and testing supplies averaging $800 per month. Once she was found eligible for Apple Health, she paid nothing out of pocket for her supplies.
Access to diabetes care is just one of the many services provided under Medicaid expansion.
In 2019, adults enrolled in Apple Health received the following services:
- Diabetes care: 19,582
- Cancer treatment: 10,748
- Hepatitis C treatment: 1,534
- Adult dental services: 156,288
- Substance use disorder treatment: 72,221
Veronica, underinsured and in need of surgery, couldn’t afford the copay and went years without receiving care. With Medicaid expansion, Veronica applied and qualified for free health coverage. Veronica was able to get the surgery she needed, and all the preventive health services she couldn’t previously afford.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the ACA and the protections provided to members who found themselves without health coverage for the first time. The pandemic left many without a job, much like Frank, an Apple Health member who lost his job at the start of the pandemic. Frank applied for coverage over the phone with a customer support representative at wahealthplanfinder.org. “Apple Health filled a huge void over my concern to medically cover my family during this very tough time when we needed it the most”, he shared.
These stories reflect the health care services made possible thanks to the ACA. Read their full stories online at hca.wa.gov/voices-apple-health. To learn more about eligibility, benefits, or how to apply for coverage, visit hca.wa.gov/apple-health.