Health Insurance Marketplaces are a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that can help you get health insurance regardless of income or health history. You can start exploring your options now, enroll in October, and start taking advantage of the benefits of your state Health Insurance Marketplace beginning in January 2014.
People looking for health insurance can shop and compare plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as healthcare exchanges. The Health Insurance Marketplace will help you find insurance plans that cover medical services including preventive care, medicines, doctor and hospital visits.
Now is the time to learn about how they work, how to prepare for open enrollment, and what kind of insurance options are available to you right now.
The New Health Insurance Marketplace
Each state will have its own Health Insurance Marketplace, which you can access online (some are already available). The exchanges are designed to help you:
- Figure out how to compare and get healthcare insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition or chronic health problem
- Find the insurance plan that fits your budget. Some people might qualify for free or low-cost health insurance
- Understand the enrollment process in a way that’s easy to read
Enrollment Begins October of 2013
The enrollment process begins October 1. But you can prepare by doing the following:
- Individuals and families:
- Get to know the different healthcare plans available in your state if the exchange has already been set up. Specifically, make sure you understand how the deductibles and co-pays work
- Ask your employer if she plans to offer health insurance
- Prepare a list of questions about your health coverage
- Small business owners:
- Get to know the different healthcare plans available so that you understand the differences in costs and services
- Set a budget based on how much both you and your employees will spend on health insurance
- Set a date to begin offering coverage that works best for your business and your employees
Your Insurance Options Now
You don’t have to wait until 2014 to get health coverage. There are several public programs available for families, including Medicare, Medicaid and low-cost insurance programs for children and adults.
HealthCare.gov has a tool to help you find insurance. You just need to answer a few questions about where you live and your current job situation.
I wanted to ask about the Health care. When is it taking place that everyone has to have ins.
Asked by Lee Ann on Facebook.
On January 1, 2014, you must be enrolled in a health insurance plan that meets basic minimum standards. If you aren’t, you may be required to pay an assessment. You won’t have to pay an assessment if you have very low income and coverage is unaffordable to you, or for other reasons including your religious beliefs. You can also apply for a waiver asking not to pay an assessment if you don’t qualify automatically.
View a timeline of the Affordable Care Act, including what’s changing and when.
When you’re selecting a health insurance plan, you’ll want to consider more than just the cost. Here are some common questions you should ask yourself when looking at your options:
- Do I have the right to go to any doctor, hospital, clinic or pharmacy I choose?
- Are specialists such as eye doctors and dentists covered?
- Does the plan cover special conditions or treatments such as pregnancy, psychiatric care and physical therapy?
- Does the plan cover home care or nursing home care?
- Will the plan cover all medications my physician might prescribe?
- What are the deductibles? Are there any co-payments?
- What is the most I will have to pay out of my own pocket to cover expenses?
- If there is a dispute about a bill or service, how is it handled? In some plans, you may be required to have a third-party decide how to settle the problem.
If you’re between jobs, you have option of extending your employer’s health care through COBRA. This publication explains your rights under COBRA.
Learn more about your health care options and how to pick a plan that gives you the coverage you need.
To learn about other free resources to help you no matter what your financial situation, sign up for our e-mail list or visit our page.
Today the Supreme Court released its decision on the health care law, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. Read the decision. (PDF)
Healthcare.gov has information about how the law affects you. You can read the law, learn about key features of the law, and see a timeline of what will change and when. Learn more about the health care law.
The Supreme Court finished hearing arguments about the Affordable Care Act yesterday. The Court is considering whether or not Congress can mandate that all citizens purchase health insurance. You can can listen to audio and download transcripts of the arguments from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on the Supreme Court’s website.
The Supreme Court justices will deliberate on the arguments for the next three months and are expected to announce a decision in the case in late June.