Many other Americans will be able to get health coverage through subsidized health insurance exchanges. And insurance companies can no longer exclude people from plans because of preexisting conditions.
This provision is already in place for children and will be applicable to adults starting in 2014, said Dr. Michelle Huckaby Lewis, a research scholar with Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore.
The law will also preserve discounts that Medicare recipients (generally people over the age of 65) receive on prescription drugs, Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, said in a statement.
And, in general, the expanded health coverage will boost preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Insurance companies will now be required to provide "first dollar" coverage for preventive and screening services, explained Dr. Glen Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Stream said he has seen many patients decline a mammogram or a colonoscopy because the co-pay or deductible was simply too expensive.
"It was not at all uncommon to decline important wellness and preventive screening because they couldn't afford the co-pay or the deductible," Stream said. "Now, the whole cost of a mammogram is covered because it fits into this category of preventive screening services."
The only part of the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court took issue with was penalizing states that didn't expand their Medicaid programs.
"The court said the federal government does not have the power to penalize states who decline to expand their Medicaid programs," said Devon Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas.
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