Shocker: Affordable care act helps patients get affordable care

Updated

Americans saved nearly $4 billion on health insurance costs in 2012 thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The data reveals nearly 80 million people saved $3.4 billion on premiums thanks to more efficient operation by insurance companies, while another 8.5 million are set to receive $500 million in rebates.

The change comes in part to a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the Medical Loss Ratio, or “80/20 rule,” which requires insurance companies to use at least 80% of premium money to pay for patient care, and no more than 20% of premiums towards overhead and profits.

That’s not the only sign of Obamacare’s positive impact. Data released Wednesday by Avalere Health shows that in at least nine states, premiums for middle-of-the-road health insurance policies in the soon-to-be unveiled statewide exchanges are pricing below estimates.

And a PricewaterhouseCooper report released Tuesday shows that increases in health care costs have slowed. As msnbc.com health reporter Geoff Cowley explained, the analysts “see signs of both a decline in the use of costly services (thanks in part to the slow economy) and an increase in the overall quality and efficiency of care (thanks in part to health care reform).”

While that’s good news for those insured today, and provides a positive prognosis for those who’ll be buying care in the future, there are still millions of Americans who don’t have access to affordable health care. That’s why PoliticsNation and msnbc have teamed up with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to help provide a free health clinic to the New Orleans community on July 3.

Nicole Lamoureux, who has been providing communities across the nation with care through her work as the Executive Director of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, joined PoliticsNation Thursday to explain how great that need is.

“People we see coming to our clinics are people who work everyday,” she said, “83% of our patients come from a working household.”

“We see people who just want to get access to health care and they have nowhere to go but the emergency room,” she said. “These people need help, they want help, and that’s what we’re going to be able to give them.”

“It really takes a massive team effort to provide these free clinics and we need your help,” Rev. Sharpton said. “I’m asking everyone to find it in your heart to please donate. If everyone just donated one dollar it would make a difference.”

How can I help?

You can register to volunteer here:

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Shocker: Affordable care act helps patients get affordable care

Updated