The passing of the Affordable Care Act has implemented a number of changes to American healthcare. Many of these changes directly affect families, the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions, leaving many of 20-somethings wondering “What does this mean for me?” One major impact of the new law is that young adults can stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until age 26. Before the passing of the Affordable Care Act children could only stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 19, with exceptions for full-time students. Since the law has been enacted, over 3 million young adults have gained insurance.

As a recent college graduate, I took full advantage of the new law and remained on my parents’ insurance until 26. After that I had options – lots of options – most of which I knew very little about (sound familiar?). I did know that as a Massachusetts resident I had to be insured, or I would face an increase on my taxes.

The first option was to wait for an open enrollment period and get back on my parents’

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Many folks still have questions about medical homes, so we thought we would try to answer some of your questions today.

Q. How does having a medical home benefit the patient?

Having a medical home means that you have a healthcare team to take care of you, headed by your primary care physician, who will coordinate your care and ensure good communication among your team members. The concept of “Care” appears to have evolved to “caring for the whole person,” so medical needs will certainly be addressed, but the patient’s social and family situation, mental health, and spiritual and emotional needs will also be considered.

Q. How is it different from having a PCP (Primary Care Physician)?

In some ways the concept isn’t that different. Your PCP should be the one who coordinates your care. Under this model, your PCP will work with an expanded team to ensure you are getting the care you need, at the right time, in the right place. Communication between team members is highlighted, and unnecessary care, such as duplicative tests, will be reduced, resulting in reduced costs.

Q. Will having a medical home cost me extra money?

This

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We hope you and your families enjoyed safe, happy and healthy holidays! Now that we are in the New Year, we have much to look forward to regarding healthcare in the U.S. As we’ve discussed in our previous three posts, we are moving towards insuring more people than ever before! That is good news, but there is much to be done. The ACA is not a perfect law, but it is our best opportunity to date to ensure that more Americans receive health insurance coverage.

Where We Are Now

At present, there are approximately 50 million uninsured people in the U.S. When the ACA has been fully implemented, we are hoping that number will drop to 25 million uninsured, a definite improvement, but by no means a cure!

One of the hallmarks of the ACA is the “medical home.” Medical home can be defined as follows (via National Center for Medical Home Implementation):

A medical home is not a building, house, hospital, or home healthcare service, but rather an approach to providing comprehensive primary care.

In a patient-centered medical home model, the primary care team works in partnership with the patient and the family to assure that all of the medical

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