With the Health Care Exchanges now less than two months away, we are well and truly on the verge of long-awaited Health Care Reform. Over 3 years since it was passed, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will begin to take effect in the coming months ahead of January 2014, which will mark the beginning of the new legislation.
Under the ACA, every US citizen will be legally obliged to purchase Health Insurance of some form or another or else face heavy fines come January. Those who were previously unable to afford Health Insurance will be entitled to a tax credit, depending on their income. Ultimately, the objective of ‘Obamacare’ is to get the ball rolling on Nationwide Health Care, available to everyone at affordable rates. However, while the ACA will see changes in Health Insurance coverage, what does it mean for the actual services available to US citizens? For many, Health Care Reform is seen as an opportunity for Patient-Centered care.
What is Patient-Centered Care?
Nationwide coverage is the aim of Health Care Reform, but there are many other provisions worth considering as you prepare yourself for the October 1 exchanges deadline, including how Health Care itself will be affected by the huge increase in patients across the country.
Many Physicians and Health Care specialists have already started to move towards a Patient-Centered Care system which is an innovative approach to the planning, delivery and evaluation of health care based on mutually beneficial relationships between providers, patients and families. Patient-Centered Care is about respect for patient’s preferences and values and providing emotional support, physical comfort and consistent care. Communication, education and coordination of care to include family involvement are all elements of a patient-focused initiative which ultimately provides an engaging and personally-tailored Health Care programme for patients.
Patient-Centered Care in the Affordable Care Act
Patient-centeredness is very much at the heart of Health Care Reform having been integrated into a number of health reform initiatives in the past. The ACA includes a number of innovative pilot programs that will evaluate the Patient-Centered Medical Home. It calls for the creation of a ‘Physician Compare’ website allowing the public to compare quality data at the physician level, such as ‘an assessment of patient experience and patient, caregiver, and family engagement.’
Shared decision-making is another attribute of the ACA, with the objective of providing an increased level of adequate information to patients. Patients will be able to make informed health decisions, along with family and caregivers, as part of a person-focused system. Preventative Care starts at an education level and the ACA places significant focus on the introduction of schemes at school-level to educate the youth about their health.
In order for a Patient-Centered system to work, an adequate measurement scheme must be in place to assess patient satisfaction and in introducing a ‘Physician Compare’ initiative along with surveys, the ACA aims for patient-focused care that can help in future decision making.
What should you do to ensure you get the best Coverage/Treatment?
If you haven’t studied up on Health Care Reform and the legislative changes that will be introduced in January 2014, then talk to your insurance agent. Make sure you know what it means for you, your family and your health insurance plan. Understanding is the first step, once you understand what these changes mean you can compare health insurance plans and physicians so that you are prepared for 2014 and beyond.
While quantity of patients is set to increase, the role of Physicians will change with a stronger focus on patient’s personal conditions and requirements. A serious and sustained effort to build a Patient-Centered health care system is starting to gain momentum with Health Care treatment tailored to your needs along with Health Insurance Plans tailored to your needs, the main objective.
If you have a question about Health Care Reform and what Insurance plan best suits you, why not ask one of our experts for free.