We’re quickly approaching a significant milestone in the effort to ensure more Americans are able to access and afford the health care coverage they need. In less than 100 days, open enrollment will begin for the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometime referred to as ‘exchanges’). The Marketplace is a new, easier way for consumers who are uninsured and small businesses in all 50 states and DC to shop for and purchase health insurance that best meets their needs and budget. You’ll be able to see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs would be and make apples-to-apples comparisons of the different health insurance plans before you enroll. Watch this short video for an overview of the Marketplace.
If you are uninsured - or know someone who is- it is very important to do some homework about the new Marketplaces and the upcoming deadlines to secure coverage. Here are some resources to help get you started:
1) Learn the facts- Health insurance can be overwhelming and confusing, but the American Heart Association is here to help provide you with the facts and resources you need to better understand the health care law and the new Marketplace. For example, did you know that beginning January 1st, 2014, health insurers can no longer deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease and stroke? Or did you know that financial assistance may be available to you to help make premiums affordable through the Marketplace? Reading up about health insurance can take a little time, but it will pay off — for your heart health and your wallet! Visit our webpage about health insurance to learn more.
2) Research your options and share with others- Most Americans who receive their health insurance coverage through their workplace will continue to be covered through their employer’s plan. Likewise, those Americans who are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other governmental plans will continue to be covered through their existing plan. But for those Americans who are uninsured, HealthCare.gov (or CuidadoDeSalud.gov for Spanish speaking customers) is the destination to learn about your options though the Health Insurance Marketplace. Right now, you can access new educational information and learn how to begin getting ready for open enrollment this fall. By October, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for health plans.
3) Enroll- Open enrollment for the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31st, 2014. For those who sign up for coverage by December 15, their coverage will become effective on January 1, 2014. For those who sign up after December 15, their coverage will be effective within six weeks.
The new Health Insurance Marketplace is critical to our shared mission to fight heart disease and stroke, by helping to expand access to health care coverage to more Americans. Research has shown that people with insurance not only have greater access to primary care and preventative services, but are more likely to take their medications properly to control risk factors, call 9-1-1 if they are experiencing heart attack or stroke symptoms, and generally have better health outcomes. And, the more uninsured Americans that get covered, the more affordable premiums will be for all of us. So, learn about the new coverage options today and help us get the word out to friends, family, and neighbors who need this information, too!