Understanding the Affordable Care Act Together

by Roba Whiteley, Executive Director, Together Rx Access

More than one year since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), recent reports show that uninsured Americans still lack an awareness of the law and an understanding of how it will impact them and their families. In an August 2011 health poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only about half of uninsured Americans were aware that the law includes certain key provisions aimed at helping them afford health coverage. More surprising is that nearly half of the uninsured surveyed (47%) were under the impression that the ACA wouldn’t make much of a difference to them at all, either positively or negatively.

These figures are of concern since the goal of this law is to expand coverage to 32 million uninsured individuals, many of whom — in today’s challenging economy — are putting their health on hold to focus on more immediate needs. In fact, studies suggest that many are forgoing doctors’ visits, preventive testing, and the filling of prescription medicines to save money.

Recognizing a need for keeping uninsured Americans informed about the ACA is one of the reasons why Together Rx Access redesigned its website, and updates it weekly, to bring visitors a consolidation of balanced information about ACA provisions available now and in the future.

In conversations with uninsured individuals, healthcare professionals, patient advocates, and Together Rx Access cardholders, we were frequently asked for more information and resources about access to healthcare and changes to healthcare – in addition to prescription savings. By redesigning our website to include valuable health resources, such as links to ACA information, podcasts of health tips, and guest columns by health experts, we are helping people take better care of their health and the health of their families.

Navigating through the ACA can be challenging. Fortunately, resources are available that can help people understand the changes, and what they will mean for themselves and their families. Such resources include:

It will take a concerted effort by everyone involved in the healthcare community to get the word out to those who will benefit the most from the ACA. The encouraging news is that many healthcare professionals, patient advocates, state and federal legislators, and others are educating those they serve about the provisions, and how individuals can learn more.