For the past year, Amy Ward of West Des Moines, Iowa has been living through a medical emergency that sounds like a TV plotline. Months after returning from a vacation, she came down with a rare fungal infection – a disease that only a tiny fraction of the population contracts – and nearly died.
On her road to recovery, Amy's had to be on ventilators and dialysis. She's needed potent antifungal agents that cost up to $1,600 a dose. Her medical expenses quickly added up.
Without the Affordable Care Act, Amy and her husband may not have been able to afford all the care she needed to recover. Before the new health reform law, Amy's health insurance policy had a lifetime dollar limit of $1 million. While it sounds like a lot, Amy's expenses exceeded that amount within months.
Lifetime limits used to be common – in 2009, nearly 60 percent of employer-sponsored plans and 89 percent of individually purchased coverage had them.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Amy is one of 105 million Americans – and nearly 1.2 million Iowans – with private health insurance who no longer will face lifetime limits on their care. You can read the Department of Health and Human Services' latest research on the number of people who no longer have a lifetime limit on their insurance plan here.
This lifetime limit ban is just one of many new consumer protections created by the new law. Annual dollar limits on coverage are being phased out. And 54 million Americans received new coverage of prevention without cost sharing in 2011.
Today, the Obama Administration released a new source of data, Health Reform: Results in Your State, to show how the law's benefits and protections are helping Americans across the country. To see how many people in your state are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, click here (23.5KB XLSX file).