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Tips for Talking to Your Family about the Affordable Care Act this Fourth of July

You should be prepared when Aunt Janine says something like, “Obamacare hasn’t helped anyone!” here are a few points to remember this long holiday weekend.

This Fourth of July, families across the nation will gather around hot dogs (or their favorite vegetarian alternative) and potato salad to spend some quality time together, watch fireworks and reflect on the holiday’s meaning. But as much as we love our families – and we do, seriously –we don’t always agree when it comes to current events, like last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding tax credits that help make insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) more affordable for millions of people.

Misinformation about the ACA is everywhere, and there’s been a lot of money spent to spread that misinformation – as much as half a billion dollars in ads, according to one 2014 estimate. Not surprisingly, many Americans still don’t know how changes the law made to insurance and the health care system can help improve their lives.

You should be prepared when Aunt Janine says something like, “Obamacare hasn’t helped anyone!” So here are a few points to remember during this long holiday weekend:

Situation: Uncle Ted claims Obamacare is a train wreck and has cost jobs.

You say: Uncle Ted, you’ve gotten ahold of some old talking points. With greater access to affordable, quality health insurance, the Affordable Care Act is helping individuals and strengthening our economy!

Since the main components of the law went into effect, we’ve reduced the number of uninsured by 16.4 million, the largest increase in the insured in decades. Before the ACA, the U.S. economy faced rapidly growing health costs that put enormous pressure on businesses and consumers. We paid more than any country without better health results, and millions of Americans were one illness away from bankruptcy. Today, we’ve seen the slowest growth in health costs in half a century, improved patient safety has saved an estimated 50,000 lives and $12 billion, and employer premiums for family coverage grew just 3 percent in 2014, tied with 2010 for the lowest on record back to 1999.

Meanwhile, since the ACA was signed, the private sector has added 12.8 million jobs over 64 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. The increase in employment over that period is due almost entirely to higher full-time employment. The number of people working part-time who would prefer to be full-time has fallen by 2.6 million from March 2010 through May 2015, including a decline of 1.1 million since December 2013.

Now, would you like more corn?

Situation: Your brother has a great idea for a start-up, but he’s afraid to lose benefits when he leaves his current job.

You say: The Affordable Care Act can help! (Note: The exclamation point denotes enthusiasm about the ACA, not an instruction to scream at your family.)

Today, all Americans can go online to a Health Insurance Marketplace and shop for quality health coverage. If you decide to start your own business, change jobs or you get laid off, that doesn’t mean you have to lose health coverage.

And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many people qualify for tax credits to help pay for their coverage, no matter which state they live in – a benefit solidified by last week’s Supreme Court decision. For 2015 coverage, about 80 percent of Marketplace shoppers on had the option of buying coverage for $100 or less per month after tax credits.  Affordable health insurance is within reach for more people than in any time in recent history.

Situation: Before reaching for another burger, your uncle mentions he’s been meaning to get a blood pressure screening he’s been putting off.

You say: Thanks to the ACA, most health plans must now cover recommended preventive services like annual checkups, flu shots and screenings at no out-of-pocket cost.

Today, about 137 million Americans have private health insurance that covers recommended preventive services without cost sharing. And with efforts like the “Healthy Self” campaign and “Coverage to Care,” we’re educating Americans about the new preventive services that are available to them.

Situation: Your younger cousin is about to graduate from college. She’s found a great internship that could really help her career, but it doesn’t offer any benefits.

You say: Thanks to the ACA, she can stay on her parents’ health insurance plan until she turns 26, getting the job experience she needs in today’s competitive economy.

That’s just one of the many consumer protections the ACA provides. Health insurance companies are no longer able to deny you health coverage if you’ve gotten sick before, and if you’re a woman, they can’t charge you a higher premium just because of your gender. The ACA helps the health system work better for individuals.

​​Tips for talking to your family about the Affordable Care Act (#ACA) this #4thofJuly


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