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FALL 2013 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER MS CONNECTION NEWSLETTER WHAT DOES THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT MEAN FOR ME? Starting this October, people will begin signing up for health insurance coverage that may have changed as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the federal healthcare reform legislation that was passed in 2010. How will it affect you and your family? Is there anything that people with MS need to know? A lot depends on the type of insurance coverage you currently receive. Individual and Family Plans The biggest changes for people who currently have health insurance are in store for those people who buy health insurance on the individual market for themselves and their families. Will I be able to purchase health insurance if I have been denied in the past? Yes. The first critical change is that health insurers can no longer deny people for pre- INSIDE 06 THIS ISSUE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA’S FIRST MS ACHIEVEMENT CENTER existing conditions such as MS. People who were previously uninsured will be able to purchase insurance as a result of the law. Perhaps more importantly, they will not pay more for their insurance premium than people who are healthy. A critical issue to understand is that “Obamacare” is not free healthcare. There are a significant amount of costs that people with health insurance will need to shoulder. People with high healthcare needs will still need to manage their medical expenses to the extent possible. However, the total out-ofpocket medical expenses are capped for the year at $6,400 for an individual and $12,800 for a family. Now that it is required for health insurers to offer coverage to anyone and health insurance companies are prevented from charging more to people who are sick, means that most Americans are now required to have health insurance coverage either through public programs (such as Medicare), their employer, or the individual market. However, there are exceptions to this rule for affordability, religious and other reasons. ... continued on page 3 11 PROGRAMS TO HELP YOU LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE 12 LEAVING PARADISE TO VOLUNTEER AT BIKE MS: WAVES TO WINE 14 MS NOW RESEARCH REVOLUTION

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