What the SCOTUS healthcare ruling means for South Cobb
A breakdown of how Thursday's ruling will affect residents and workers in Austell and Mableton
The announcement of the ruling came on Thursday morning. For some, it was one of the best actions the Court could've taken and for others, it marked the end of an era.
The Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling.
So what does that mean for South Cobb's largest hospital?
Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell recently cut 42 jobs due to the increase in uninsured patients over the last year. According to Wellstar spokesman Keith Bowermaster, as of May 2012, 11.6 percent of all hospital care delivered at Wellstar was for uninsured patients. This percentage is up from 10 percent for 2010 and 2009.
Bowermaster said in an email to South Cobb Patch, "Now that the Supreme Court has rendered its decision, it will take several years for the mandated regulations to be implemented. It's a long-term issue and WellStar Cobb Hospital will continue to look at staffing in compared to patient volume as it always has done."
What does this mean if I'm employed and have health insurance as part of my benefits package?
Right now, it means that your children can remain on your healthcare insurance until they're 26. It also means no copays for preventative services and no lifetime limits on your benefits.
However, once the law is fully implemented in 2014, it could mean that your employer would opt to offer cheaper coverage through a state exchange. Employers may drop employer-sponsored coverage all together, which would allow employees to choose their own plan and possibly qualify for a subsidy, meaning you could pay less than you're currently paying.
What if I'm on Medicare?
Seniors will save even more on prescription medications, will have no copays for preventative services and will receive a 4 percent reduction in premiums if enrolled in managed Medicare care plans in 2012.
According to this Huffington Post columnist, 3.6 million seniors saved $2.1 billion on their prescription medications in 2011 because of healthcare reform.
What if I'm self-employed and have an individual insurance policy for myself or my family?
Health policy consultant Linda Bergthold says, "Try to keep your policy if you can continue to afford it."
Depending upon the outcome of the November elections, and if the ACA is overturned, "you will be on the streets again, trying to get coverage as an individual and potentially being turned down for pre-existing conditions," Bergthold said.