To mark the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, Health Policy Hub will be cross posting blogs from our state partners that show how people in their states are benefiting from the law. Today’s blog will give you an on-the-ground look at how youth in Tennessee are protected by the ACA. This blog was originally posted on the Tennessee Justice Center Blog.

It was just over a year ago that the Affordable Care Act took effect, and already families are benefitting from it. While there are several new programs available, ranging from tax breaks to small business and better preventative care for senior citizens, TJC’s work makes it most directly familiar with the changes that benefit families with children.

We have spoken with families who used to rely on TennCare as a secondary insurance because their children ran into annual and lifetime limits on their primary plans. These children are now receiving their care through their private policies that cannot place limits on their services. We’ve talked with families whose children no longer qualify for TennCare but are now able to purchase a private plan to insure them and cover their preexisting conditions.

While the ACA is taking care of these high-needs families, perhaps its greater strength is its emphasis on promoting preventive coverage. TJC has spoken with numerous young people – indeed, even TJC’s own interns and volunteers – who are able to remain insured through their parents’ plans through their college years and beyond. These are young and healthy adults who likely will not need emergency or urgent care. However, by making sure that they have easy access to primary doctors, the odds of any potentially serious illness being discovered early greatly increase.

As former TJC intern Eva Canan puts it, “Being able to stay on my mom’s heath insurance plan relieves me of just one more thing to worry about as I graduate college and make the transition to adult life. There is so much to be concerned about financially for people my age: paying off student loans, rent, not to mention food, all while trying to find a job in this economy. So knowing that I don’t have to worry about health insurance for another four years brings a great peace of mind.”

— Bobby Gambrel, Client Advocate Tennessee Justice Center