Physical therapists are likely to find themselves responding to patient questions about how the Affordable Care Act will affect their health care. Are you prepared to help point them to the answers they need?
Despite the government shutdown that began October 1, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains unaffected. But as the ACA continues to rollout major features—most recently, the marketplace system—the public remains largely uninformed.
A September 28 tracking poll from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that as late as last month, 51% of all Americans felt that they lacked adequate information on the ACA. Most feel that current news coverage on health reform focuses more on political wrangling than on providing information, and more often than not, respondents stated that they don't know where to turn for accurate, unbiased information on the changes.
Many public uncertainties remain, according to the poll. These include worries about cost (19%), confusion about where to find an easy-to-understand, unbiased summary of the ACA (18%), a need to know how the ACA will make things better (7%%), impacts on specific groups (6%), personal/family impacts (5%), questions about insurance marketplace plans (5%), and questions about the impact on currently-held insurance (4%).
You may not need to know all the answers to these questions, but helping a patient find resources is important. The federal government has published a series of fact sheets on the ACA, and on October 1 the Kaiser Foundation released a series of consumer resources that aim to answer the most common questions.
Of course, physical therapists have plenty of questions about how ACA will affect their work. Answers can be found in APTA's "10 Things You Need to Know on October 1" guide on the Expansion of Coverage webpage.
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