What They Said: The Affordable Care Act

We've been hearing from our Virginia elected officials in preparation for the opening of the ACA Marketplace. Read on to learn more about what they're saying.

A project of the Virginia Young Democrats Health Policy Caucus.

"No one - even young people - plan to get sick or hurt, but most people will need medical care at some point. Health insurance can help out when that happens. As part of the Affordable Care Act, starting October 1, Virginians will have the opportunity sign up for health insurance available through a "marketplace" or exchange. You will have access to plans that are affordable to you, and ensure you are covered for what you need, and you can even enroll in an inexpensive catastrophic plan - one that will only kick in should you get really sick or hurt. Taking care of your health, and ensuring you are protected in the case of illness - or even if you need to see a doctor - is important no matter your age."

U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner

"With open enrollment for health insurance coverage beginning on October 1, 2013, individuals will be able to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Designed to make buying health coverage easier and more affordable, the marketplace is a great option for young adults in Virginia. I encourage young Virginians to compare all of their options and enroll in the coverage plan that is the best fit for them."

"I support the Affordable Care Act as an important first step toward putting patients in charge of their own health care decisions and slowing the growth of health care costs. We are already seeing its impact on young Virginians. As of December 2011, the National Health Interview Survey found that 3.1 million additional young adults, including 66,000 in Virginia, have insurance coverage due to the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows individuals to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26. Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are prohibited from denying care to those with pre-existing conditions and preventive services like routine cancer screenings and regular wellness visits no longer require a copay. While the Affordable Care Act is already delivering positive results for Virginians, more work needs to be done to lower costs and expand access to care. I look forward to working with lawmakers from both parties, as well as members of the business community, to strengthen this important legislation."

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine

"Currently, young adults are the most uninsured group among all Americans. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act provides new ways for these young people to access coverage. It allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans up to their 26th birthday and also gives them the opportunity to shop for affordable coverage in the new Health Insurance Marketplace. In the Marketplace, they can comparison shop for a plan that meets their needs and even elect to enroll in a very inexpensive catastrophic plan. These coverage options will ensure that America's young people can stay healthy and have peace of mind while they focus on their education, their careers, and their families."

Congressman Bobby Scott

"Young people entering the workforce today face significant challenges, but securing affordable health insurance won't be one of them under the Affordable Care Act. Women will no longer have to pay more simply because of their gender, over three million young people under age 26 have the option to stay on their parents’ insurance plans, and subsidies will be available to help cover premiums for workers making less than $43,000, a large number of which are those just starting out in the workforce. The ACA is a major step forward for better healthcare for all Americans, freeing people to pursue their dreams without fear of not having health coverage when they need it most."

Congressman Jim Moran

"President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures that our future leaders, inventors, professionals, artist, or whomever our young men and women dream to become are not hindered by a lack of quality healthcare. The ACA ensures that while our college students are striving to find and lock into their chosen career path they don't have to worry about job mobility and pre conditional health issues being a factor in their decision making. The law ensures that they can stay on their parents' healthcare plans until they turn 26 and that their healthcare plans are portable and cannot be denied due to a current or future chronic illness."

Delegate Rosalyn Dance

"No matter your age, every Virginian is just one accident or illness away from medical bankruptcy. But thanks to ObamaCare, those days may be over. Young people especially are the most vulnerable but you can protect yourself and your future by enrolling in the health care marketplace starting October 1. Be smart - don't wait until it's too late."

Delegate Patrick Hope

“We know that young adults have the highest rate of being uninsured. The Affordable Care Act provides Virginia's young people the ability to remain on their parent’s health plan until they are 26 years old. But to take advantage of this great provision in the President's healthcare law, young people must be educated about it as the new Health Insurance Marketplace opens in October. I commend the Virginia Young Democrats for their efforts to educate the public about these issues and for encouraging young people to comparison shop for health plans and new coverage options.”

Delegate Mark Keam

“This year Virginians will have a chance to help transform our national health care system into one in which everybody, regardless of age or where they are in life, has a chance to get affordable health care. My district is lucky to be the home of a great number of young professionals, many working on public policy or for non-profits. None of them should have to rely on the emergency room for basic care. I've met too many young professionals who have not been able to afford health care or who put it off until it was too late. I want to encourage everybody to sign-up for this program. This is a great civic opportunity to strengthen one of the underlying foundations of our economy -- basic health. The more that participate, the better this works and the stronger our country will be. I encourage you to become a part of this important effort to improve America. It is good for your health and all our health.”

Delegate Rob Krupicka

"Open Enrollment for the healthcare insurance exchange begins in a little over a month on October 1, 2013. This will be the beginning of a new era of affordable health insurance for young adults. While many young adults think they do not need health insurance, the reality is we are all one illness or accident away from economic devastation. Historically, health insurance plans in the individual market have been difficult for young adults to afford. It is estimated that young adults make up nearly a third of all uninsured Americans. Often leaving young people at risk of paying out of pocket for unexpected medical needs, as well as preventive services, and basic family planning attention. Whether in between college and a career, working as an independent contractor, surviving on part time hours, running or envisioning your own small business, young adults are often left somewhere in between not qualifying for funding for medical assistance, but also struggling to pay the extra money necessary to carry a health insurance plan."

As a young adult, enrolling in the health insurance exchange will help you access the health coverage you deserve, as well as an opportunity to pursue new innovative career choices, without the fear of being targeted by your insurance company due to your gender, income, or medical history. Furthermore, young adults enrolled in the healthcare insurance exchange will be free from being tied to an unwanted job due to the need to access and maintain affordable health insurance. This will undoubtedly create new liberties for young adults to venture into their innovative businesses and artistic concepts throughout the Commonwealth without the struggle to access affordable healthcare."

Delegate Jennifer McClellan

"The transformative benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have gradually been revealed. From 2010 to 2012, the percentage of uninsured young Americans 19-25 years old has decreased from 13.6 million to 11.7 million. Today’s youth will have the unique opportunity to experience a lifetime of significantly lower healthcare
costs. The potential impact will be unprecedented.

Sweeping healthcare reforms have already banned insurers from charging higher premiums based on health and gender. Traditional insurance practices that included placing limits on reimbursements and canceling policies retroactively because of illness have been banned. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for preexisting conditions.

Young adults remain the most likely to be uninsured, with thirty percent lacking coverage according to the US Department of Labor. Yet, one in six young adults suffer from a chronic illness. Insurance markets have mostly ignored young Americans, but ACA has encouraged the development of affordable insurance options. We should strongly urge friends and family to take advantage of these innovative options as the major provisions of ACA go into effect in January 2014. Only by working together can we achieve the goal of near universal coverage.”

Senator Kenneth Alexander

"Young Virginians have already greatly benefited from the Affordable Care Act. Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows young adults to stay on their parent’s health care plan till the age of 26 and creates a competitive marketplace to purchase insurance thereafter. I am proud to lend my support to our leaders in Virginia Young Democrats for their effort to spread awareness about open enrollment beginning October 1st."

Senator Creigh Deeds

"Open enrollment for the new health care exchanges implemented in the Affordable Care Act begins October 1st, and I encourage Virginians of all ages to sign up early and stay informed. However, those under age 26 should explore the option of remaining on or being added to their parents' policies. These exchanges will be online marketplaces where individuals can easily compare health plans and choose the one most suited to their needs, an invaluable tool that will benefit thousands of my constituents. The open enrollment period will also allow individuals an opportunity to shop for the health coverage they need without worrying about being turned down due to preexisting conditions."

Senator Adam Ebbin

"Young Virginians will definitely benefit from ACA in many ways. In today's difficult job market allowing young people to stay on their parents' health plans longer is a huge asset. Moreover, they cannot be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition and will have access to free preventive care to allow them to stay healthier longer. Finally, the exchange and the health advocates will help younger people who have less experience with the intricacies of health insurance, navigate this process and find better, less expensive plans that suit their needs."

Senator A. Donald McEachin

"The federally facilitated health exchange provides the opportunity for health insurance to about 140,000 Virginians between 18-24. While young people often feel invincible, participation can give young adults (and their parents) peace of mind. For those with health issues and entry-level jobs with no coverage, this is a vital lifeline! For those who are healthy, it provides a way to stay healthy. Young adults who engage regularly with the health care system can have minor issues caught before needing expensive treatment. Healthier young people lead to healthier middle-aged and elderly people, creating a healthier risk pool for insurers and, over time, healthier and longer-living Americans. Now that’s something we can all support!"

Senator Toddy Puller

VAYD Annual Convention

March 17-19, 2017
Harrisonburg, VA

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