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Access to Affordable, Quality Health Insurance Coverage

Every person should have access to the healthcare they need. Discover updates in our fight for affordable, quality health insurance coverage for those with MS.

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What We Are Trying to Accomplish

Access to affordable, high quality healthcare is essential for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to live their best lives, and health insurance coverage is essential for people to get the care and treatments they need. Society input and stances related to the evolving healthcare landscape are guided by our Access to High Quality MS Healthcare Principles and the Access to MS Medications Recommendations. The Society has also joined 30+ other national patient and consumer organizations on these consensus healthcare reform principles. 

At the federal and state level the Society is advocating for access to telehealth. Telehealth is the utilization of new technology to allow care to be delivered remotely (for instance, in rural areas). This includes consultations, remote monitoring and collaboration between providers. States are utilizing telehealth in their Medicaid programs, private insurers are beginning to offer telehealth coverage, and the federal government is gathering evidence to decide how to best implement telehealth benefits in the Medicare program. Innovative tools and technology used in the delivery of healthcare bridge geographic, linguistic and health literacy gaps, and enhance access for people with physical and cognitive limitations. During the national response to COVID-19, major steps were taken to advance access to telehealth. While the rapid changes to reimbursement for telehealth during that time period were important to ensuring that access to doctors continued, much of these actions were specifically limited to being a response during a period of crisis.

Happening at the National Level

In 2017, Congress considered several efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most were rejected, but as part of the new tax law, Congress repealed the “individual mandate.” This means that as of 2019, individuals will not have to pay a fine if they don’t have a minimum level of health coverage. Twenty states led by the Texas Attorney General (AG) filed a lawsuit challenging the ACA in federal court in Texas. The plaintiffs argue that because Congress repealed the individual mandate’s tax penalty as part of the tax reform law, the entire law is invalid and must now be struck down. The Society along with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and American Lung Association filed an amicus curiae or friend of the court brief that discusses the importance of the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as argues that the law was intended to help patients and Congress’s refusal to repeal the law without a replacement reinforces that intent.

In 2018, the Society has supported bipartisan efforts to stabilize the individual health insurance market. However, the Society has expressed concerns with efforts to expand access to association health plans and short-term limited-duration plans—both of which could result in fewer protections and higher costs for people with pre-existing conditions like MS.


News Updates

Trump’s Vow to Repeal Health Law Revives Talk of High-Risk Pools – The New York Times
Health Care’s Bipartisan Problem: The Sick Are Expensive and Someone Has to Pay – The Wall Street Journal

Take Action Now

Urge your elected officials to support affordable, high quality health insurance coverage for people living with MS.

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© 2023 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.