Why is VIM Needed?

Isn’t Everyone Insured Now?

VIM Berkshires’ volunteers and staff are often asked:  “Why do we need free services for the uninsured?  Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been implemented, doesn’t everyone have access to health insurance now?”

The simple answer is  “no.” The ACA was never intended to cover everyone.  In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even after the act is fully implemented in 2019 in all 50 states, there will still be 31 million uninsured.  That’s about 10% of the country’s population.

Other key facts to consider:

  • 20% of VIM’s target patient population is uninsured for at least part of the year; 5% all year. More …
  • There is a critical shortage of primary care physicians in Berkshire County. More … 
  • Many VIM services are not covered under the Affordable Care Act. More …

 “Who are VIM Berkshire’s patients?  Why don’t they have insurance?”

  • About half our medical visits are with patients who are only temporarily without insurance. More
  • Many people are exempted from the “individual mandate” for financial reasons. More
  • The ACA policies with the lowest premiums carry very high deductibles and co-pays. More
  • Some patients have insurance in another state that cannot be used in Massachusetts. More
  • If you can’t afford your employer provided coverage, you and your family are ineligible for subsidies from the ACA. More …
  • And finally, again, there is the 50+% of patients seeking health care services not covered under the Affordable Care Act.

We hope that someday truly universal coverage will be provided to everyone, but that’s not likely to happen any time soon.  In the meantime, VIM is here to fill the gaps that inevitably occur in every system and provide high quality free healthcare services to those in need.