Elizabeth A. W. Williams, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for Independence Blue Cross
As recently as last year, nearly 50 million Americans didn’t have health insurance. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this has started to change. Beginning January 1 of this year, millions of Americans, including hundreds of thousands in the Philadelphia region, have gained access to health insurance for the first time.
But the reform law is just a first step. The U.S. health care system still faces significant challenges — first among them, inconsistent quality and costs that continue to rise. These problems are so large and complex they cannot be addressed with yesterday's solutions.
In fact, finding sustainable solutions to raising the quality and lowering the cost of health care requires a level of change and innovation that the law simply does not provide. Fortunately, this region has all the right components to create the health care innovations needed to tackle these challenges: world class universities, renowned teaching hospitals, talented and dedicated physicians, a strong health and life sciences economy, and an active entrepreneurial community.
Elizabeth A. W. Williams, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Independence Blue Cross
Earlier this month the federal government announced that the number of Americans who purchased their health insurance through the new federal and state Marketplaces more than doubled from October to November. It’s good news, but there are many more people still without coverage. According to a recent report, in southeastern Pennsylvania more than 276,000 adults don’t have coverage.
Having insurance is more than just a safety net if something catastrophic should happen. It’s about being able to go to the doctor for routine preventive care to keep you healthy. For example, women in our region with insurance are much more likely to have routine cancer screenings such as mammograms or Pap Tests.
So, for those who have been postponing shopping for health insurance, now is the time. The deadline is fast approaching. Consumers must sign-up by December 23 to have coverage on January 1. There are still a few challenges with the federal government’s website healthcare.gov, but it has improved and is getting better every day.