Archive for September, 2014
Let the Countdown Begin!
September 26, 2014
It’s coming: Open enrollment starts in just 50 days. What does that mean for you? That means the Health Insurance Marketplaces will be open for business and you can sign up for affordable health insurance. Here are 5 things you should know in advance:
- Mark your calendar: You have from November 15th to February 15th to sign up for health insurance. If you don’t get covered, you might have to pay a fine of $325 or 2% of your income (whichever is more).
- Financial help is available. Over 4 in 5 people who already got covered got help paying for their health insurance.
- You can get in-person help with your application. You might have a lot of questions about health insurance. Don’t worry — there are people who can answer your questions and guide you through the application process.
- You can start thinking about what kind of coverage you need. There are different types of plans available to fit your needs and your budget.
- Every plan covers the essentials, so you know you’re getting a quality plan. That includes doctor’s visits, preventive care, prescriptions, E.R. visits, maternity care, and more. And you can’t be turned down or charged more for having a pre-existing condition.
Want more info? Sign up here, and we’ll help you get covered and stay covered.
Check Out These Events in Your Area!
September 25, 2014
Maybe you just got health insurance for the first time in a long time. Maybe you’re thinking about getting covered later this year when open enrollment starts. (By the way, that’s November 15th — mark your calendar!)
Either way, you probably have a lot of questions about health insurance. How do you get it? How do you use it once you have it?
Come find out more about how to find, use, and keep affordable health insurance. You can learn more about out-of-pocket costs, what a provider network is, and more.
We’ll have people on hand to answer your health insurance questions — in English and Spanish.
It’s free and open to the public, so bring a friend! Will you join us?
50 Days Until Open Enrollment: What every Ohioan Needs to Know to #GetCovered and #StayCovered!
With another school year starting and summer rolling into fall, there is another important date approaching: On Friday, September 26, it will be fifty days until the second open enrollment period through the Affordable Care Act begins. On November 15, uninsured or underinsured Ohioans will be able to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage or renew their plan if they already have one through the Marketplace.
During the first open enrollment period, over 154,000 Ohioans enrolled in private coverage and now enjoy the peace of mind that comes with protecting themselves and their families. In addition, over 367,000 Ohioans have enrolled in expanded Medicaid as of August. This coming open enrollment period is the next opportunity to take advantage of the new coverage options through the Affordable Care Act and find a plan that fits your needs and budget.
So here’s five things every Ohioan needs to know about open enrollment:
1. Open enrollment begins on November 15.
In the first open enrollment period 154,000 Ohioans enrolled in coverage through the Affordable Care Act. On November 15, enrollment is going to reopen again and run through February 15, 2015. During this time, uninsured Ohioans will be able to enter the Health Insurance Marketplace and select a plan that fits their needs and budget. You can also enroll right now if you’re uninsured and experience a life-changing event like the birth of a child, a marriage, or a move.
If you don’t have health insurance or need to renew your plan, November 15 is your chance to find a plan you can afford and that can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected. Low-income Ohioans who are eligible for Medicaid can enroll in coverage now, as enrollment through those programs is year-round.
2. 84% of Ohioans got financial help to make their plan more affordable!
For many Ohioans, affordability is a real concern in their health care decision-making. In the past, sky-rocketing health care costs have forced many to go without health insurance because they simply couldn’t afford it.
The good news is that financial assistance is available to help you pay for your plan – making it truly affordable. In fact, 84% of Ohioans received financial assistance to make their plan more affordable, and over 50% are now paying less than $100 per month. To find what you could qualify for through the Affordable Care Act, you can check out Get Covered America’s Calculator tool at www.getcoveredamerica.org/calculator.
3. In-person help is available to help you understand your options and enroll in a plan.
The enrollment process can be confusing for many, especially if you’ve gone a long time without coverage. If you fall into that category, you may like the idea of meeting with someone in your community one-on-one and talking about your personal situation and your options. And you’re not alone.
There is free, in-person enrollment help available right now. These are people in your community certified to sit down with you, explain your options, and help you make the best coverage decision for you and your family. They can also help you renew your plan if you’re already insured through the Affordable Care Act and want to keep your coverage. You can find someone near you by using the Get Covered America Locator tool at www.getcoveredamerica.org/locator or contacting a Get Covered America Ohio office in Cleveland (216-314-2392), Cincinnati (513-667-2304), or Columbus (614-636-0385).
4. You can start thinking now about what kind of plan fits your needs and budget.
Everybody’s needs and financial situations are different, so you can start thinking now about the type of coverage you want and what makes sense for your budget. Every plan is a little different, but all of them will be explained in easy-to-understand language for side-by-side comparison when you enroll. So you can learn more about the types of plans that will work for you today and prepare yourself for taking the next step come November 15.
If you want to talk with someone in person about the types of plans that will be available, free enrollment help is also available to meet with you right in your community too. Or if you want to get a better understanding of health insurance more generally, check out our Get Covered Guide.
5. Every plan covers the essentials, so you know you’ll be protected.
Every plan through the Affordable Care Act must cover ten essential benefits, so you know you’ll be getting a quality plan. These benefits include: doctor’s visits, preventive care, medications, emergency room visits, maternity care, and more. This means that every Ohioan that enrolls will be able to get the medical care that they need to stay healthy – including free preventive care.
And no plan can deny you coverage based on a preexisting condition. For the first time, there are options for people who live with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma that may have prevented them from finding affordable coverage in the past.
November 15 marks a historic opportunity for Ohioans who are currently living without health insurance. With these five simple facts, you can prepare for open enrollment to begin and take action to protect yourself and your family with quality, affordable health insurance. And don’t forget that if you don’t enroll by February 15, you might face a fine – so be sure to act right away.
You can learn more about the Affordable Care Act, your coverage options, and how you can help your friends and family get covered at www.getcoveredamerica.org.
About Get Covered America and Enroll America
Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in eleven states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH,PA, TN and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.
Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Preparing for Open Enrollment 2.0: Zooming in on Enrollment at the Community Level
September 23, 2014
Last week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a dataset of enrollment numbers broken down by zip code. Enroll America used this data to estimate how many consumers enrolled by county. This localized data will allow the Get Covered America campaign and our partners to zoom in on what enrollment looks like on the community level in Florida in preparation for when the Marketplace re-opens on November 15, 2014.
After the end of the first open enrollment period last March, Get Covered America stayed active in communities throughout Florida reaching out to the remaining uninsured to make sure they know their options for coverage through year-round Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and the possibilities of special enrollment periods. And with nearly one million Floridians enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, we’re also reaching out to the state’s newly covered to help them understand how to stay covered. Throughout open enrollment, Florida led the nation in sign-ups among all states with a federally facilitated Marketplace (FFM) with 91% of new enrollees selecting a plan with financial assistance.
Where Are Texas’ Uninsured and Newly Enrolled?
September 22, 2014
Care about getting Texans covered? And getting informed? We have some great new resources to share, including new local data about Affordable Care Act enrollment and news of an event in October where you can learn how to help Cover Texas Now.
Last week, a lot of new information came out about how many Texans in different communities enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace during the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services has the dataset available by zip code. Our data and analytics team here at Enroll America used that information to show how many Texans have enrolled by county and by region of the state.
Some important new information also just came out from the U.S. Census about just how many Texans went into last year’s open enrollment uninsured. Texas continues to have the nation’s highest rate of uninsured, with 1 in every 4 Texans under the age of 65 going without health coverage as of last year.
So what can you do to help?
One option is to come join us and the Cover Texas Now coalition for Connecting Texans with Health Care Coverage on Tuesday, October 14 from 8:00-12:00 in Austin.
This statewide gathering of Texans working on outreach, enrollment, application assistance, supporting Texans in the Coverage Gap, and Medicaid-CHIP enrollment is available at no charge, but registration by Sept. 30 is required. Learn more about this event, featuring our state director Mimi Garcia, here.
I’m Getting a Divorce. What Happens to my Health Insurance?
September 18, 2014
This post was written by Mandy Walker and originally appeared at Since My Divorce.
If you have health coverage through your STBX’s employer then high on your list of priorities is understanding what happens to your health insurance after divorce and how you can get coverage.
It’s best to start researching this as soon as you know you’re getting divorced because while you definitely won’t be eligible for coverage at the next enrollment period under your STBX’s employer’s plan once you’re legally divorced, the timing of when you would lose coverage is fuzzy.
In an ideal world, your STBX would agree to keep you on their plan through the end of the benefit year giving you ample opportunity to research alternatives and hopefully arrange an orderly transition. So for example, if the benefit year runs January through December and your divorce is final in March, you may be able to stay covered on the plan through December. You can also agree to reimburse your STBX your portion of the premium expense.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the STBX who removes you from coverage even before your divorce is final, maybe even before a divorce petition has been filed, leaving you to find out you have no coverage in the doctor’s office after an expensive and necessary procedure.
Start by calling your present insurer and verifying what happens at divorce and what options they offer.
Then you’ll want to research your options through Obamacare. If you know you’ll lose your coverage at the end of December then you can enroll for coverage through the Open Enrollment Period that starts this year on November 15. To have your plan start on the first of the month, the enrollment period has to be completed by the 15th of the prior month.
If you’re going to lose coverage outside the Open Enrollment Period don’t panic. While divorce itself is not considered a “qualifying life event,” loss of coverage is and that makes you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. You can visit the marketplace up to 60 days in advance to report an anticipated loss of coverage and find out your options for coverage. If you wait until after you’ve lost your coverage, you have 60 days to complete the enrollment process.
You can find your state’s marketplace and other helpful information through Get Covered America. There’s also a locator for you to find health insurance experts to help you get coverage. Like choosing any professional, I always recommend that you interview three people before deciding who you want to work with. A health insurance expert will also help you explore your coverage options outside the marketplace.
Helping Texans Get Covered, Stay Covered
September 17, 2014
National Hispanic Heritage Month is underway now and runs through Oct. 15. Here are three reasons that Hispanic Heritage Month makes a compelling time to talk about health insurance.
1) Texas had a higher-than-average rate of Latino participation in the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. It’s great that outreach and enrollment groups here did a good job reaching Latino communities, but . . .
2) Latinos continue to be more likely to be uninsured. According to a recent report from the National Council of La Raza, Latinos are among the most likely Texans to be uninsured, with nearly 4 out of every 10 Texans from Latino communities lacking health coverage. About half of the total uninsured population in Texas comes from Latino communities.
3) Getting covered is a first step, but people also need to know how to use their coverage. Since Latinos make up a large portion of the newly insured, many would benefit from extra support that aims to help them use their health insurance effectively. Our national director wrote recently about the importance of health insurance literacy. And Enroll America is working with partners around the state and nationally this month to put on a series of Health and Education Resource Fairs to promote health insurance literacy.
Want to get involved? Here is a sampling of some upcoming health education and resource fairs happening soon:
- A North Texas Health Insurance Resource and Education Fair will take place on Monday, Sept. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Eastfield College, 3737 Motley Drive, Room 100-101, Mesquite, TX 75150. Consumers will receive information, in English and Spanish, about getting insured, staying insured if they have been alerted about a data discrepancy in their enrollment, and using coverage effectively. Computer access for consumers wanting to set up profiles on Healthcare.Gov will be available.
- A pair of upcoming events in San Antonio with Enroll SA Will Promote Health Literacy. Get Covered America, Enroll SA partners, Bexar Health Collaborative, NCLR, and NALEO will be among the partners at the two events.
- The first event will be on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sky Harbour Elementary School, Southwest ISD, 5902 Fischers Bend, San Antonio, 78242.
- The second will be on Saturday, October 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ed White Middle School, Northeast ISD, 7800 Midcrown Drive, San Antonio, 78218.
- Get Covered America in Houston will be promoting Health Literacy for Houston Residents at the Consulate of Honduras on Friday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The health fair location is 7400 Harwin Dr., Suite 200, Houston, TX 77036.
Spread the Word: In-person Help is Here
September 16, 2014
It’s that time of year: Soon, the Health Insurance Marketplace will be open for business!
There’s a lot to think about, for sure. And sometimes, you just want to sit down and talk through something with someone who knows their stuff.
There’s good news: Whether you’re signing up for the first time or renewing your plan, you can get in-person help with your health insurance application!
That’s right! There are people in your community who can answer your questions and walk you through the sign-up process. And it won’t cost you a thing.
All you have to do call and make your appointment. We even have a handy tool to help you find help in your area!
New Jersey State Director Interview on Local Community TV!
September 15, 2014
ICYMI: Get Covered America New Jersey State Director Justine Ceserano & Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert joined “Off the Front Page” host Diane Ciccone of Princeton Community TV to discuss Special Enrollment opportunities and what’s new in the ACA world.
Click here to view this edition of “Off the Front Page” and get the scoop on hot topics ranging from Enroll America’s National Conference to Medicaid Expansion in New Jersey to what’s happening locally in Princeton and how you can get covered today!
New Special Enrollment PSA starring Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert
Check out our new PSA starring Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert for great information on your options to access affordable, quality health care today!
For next steps, local resources and events, and FREE in-person enrollment help visit GetCoveredAmerica.org.
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