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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Affordable Care Act is right for consumers, insurance companies

July 13, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

There seems to be a lot of negative press about the Affordable Care Act. While it may not be a perfect solution, it is a step in the right direction to ensure that Americans will be able to obtain medical insurance.

The marketplaces are going to be open in just a few short months (Oct. 1). In Boone County alone, there are more than 8,000 people who will qualify for exchange subsides, making health insurance more affordable for individuals and families in our communities, resulting in healthier communities (U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates, 2010).

There is an active smear campaign by the insurance companies to blame the ACA for any changes in premiums. The insurance companies would like Americans to forget that under an unregulated market, premiums increased 131 percent from 2000-2011.

Let’s not forget this fact. Who benefited from this increase? I think it is safe to say top executives of insurance companies. Consumer protections under the ACA were needed.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies must now spend at least 80 percent of their policyholders’ premiums on health care, something they should have been doing all along.

Under the 80/20 rule, insurance companies cannot keep more than 20 percent of premiums (or more than 15 percent in the large group market) for overhead and profits.

These companies want to maintain their power and wealth, be wary of news stories and claims of the failure of the ACA in the next several months, and question the source.

Ben Edes lives in Columbia.