Affordable Care Act Kicks in With New Year - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Affordable Care Act Kicks in With New Year

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LEWES, Del. - The Affordable Care Act has been debated, dissected, discussed, and delineated about for years, but with the new year, it finally has arrived. Starting in 2014, the approximately 2 million people who enrolled will be eligible for service. And in this new scenario, politicians are holding their breath to see whether the new legislation will face any problems.

On day one of the new health care system, most hospitals on Delmarva have been quiet about any reported problems. WBOC took a trip to Beebe Medical Center to discuss the implementation of the new policy.  Joan Thomas from the hospital said that it is still too soon to see whether there will be problems or not.

"It's really hard to say what we will be seeing over the next couple of months," she said. "Because we really don't know the impact that it's going to have in Delaware."

And this waiting-game will be played throughout the country, as the hospitals watch for any developments. The launch of the web site was riddled with problems, bringing a great amount of criticism towards the new policy. Now as these issues get worked out, the attention turns towards the "back end," as many question whether the 2 million people who signed up online will actually get the coverage. Thomas said it might be a while before this data is released.

"We won't know about the gap until at least a month from now," she said. "Perhaps maybe 3 or 4 months down the road. Whether or not they actually -- there coverage is effective when they've come in."  

Whether the insurance is valid or not, the hospital will give patients the service they need. A sign in the Beebe Medical Center spells it out: "It's the Law." Thomas said uninsured patients create a financial burden on the hospital because they force the hospital to pay for the coverage. For that reason, she said the day-to-day operations of the hospital were unlikely to change as health insurance expands to new people.

"We are a hospital and we do accept all patients regardless of their ability to pay or whether or not they do have health insurance," she said.

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