Attorney General Gansler Marks Second Anniversary of Affordable Care Act
Anniversary arrives as U.S. Supreme Court prepares for oral arguments
AG's Health Education and Advocacy Unit assists Marylanders with health insurance problems
Baltimore, MD (March 23, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today celebrated the progress that has been made in extending health coverage to thousands of uninsured Marylanders and millions of Americans since enactment two years ago of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The anniversary arrives as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments over challenges to the law. Maryland is among the many states that have filed amicus (Friend of the Court) briefs at the Court in support of the historic health care reform legislation.
"Thousands more Marylanders now have affordable, high-quality care as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which has made historic strides in combating our nation's health care crisis," said Attorney General Gansler. "This landmark law is not only constitutional, it is already saving lives and helping to control costs."
In January, Attorney General Gansler and attorneys general from 12 other states and territories filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act. Legal arguments over that provision and other aspects of the Act will be heard next week before the Supreme Court during three days of oral arguments.
Legal arguments aside, the practical positive impact of the Affordable Care Act is clear. The Act will result in 150,000 newly insured Marylanders by 2014, and 350,000 newly covered Maryland consumers by 2020, according to the Hilltop Institute, a nonpartisan health research organization at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The Attorney General's Health Education and Advocacy Unit can help Marylanders trying to access health insurance and ensure necessary coverage of medical services. Help is free. Information about how the federal law impacts Marylanders can be found at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/healthcarereform. Consumers can also speak directly with HEAU's mediators and ombudsmen by calling the Unit's hotline at 410-528-1840 or 1-877-261-8807.
This week, HEAU Director Kimberly Cammarata and Deputy Director Meredith Borden participated in a news conference promoting a new campaign to boost applications and enrollments in the Maryland Health Insurance Plan Federal, a state and federally funded health insurance program for high-risk individuals who cannot obtain insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Established in 1986, the HEAU also helps consumers whose health plans have refused to cover a medical procedure or to pay for a medical service that has already been provided. Additionally, the HEAU mediates billing disputes that consumers have with hospitals, other health care providers, and medical equipment providers. It also helps consumers negotiate refunds for medical equipment that is defective or was never delivered, and seek repairs for medical equipment and other health care products. In 2011, the HEAU handled over 8,700 calls from consumers, received over 2,000 complaints and recovered more than $1 million for consumers.
Additional information about how the Health Education and Advocacy Unit assists consumers can be found at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/HEAU.htm.