Archive for June, 2015
Marriage Equality Means Opportunities for Health Coverage: What LGBT Ohioans Need to Know Now that Ohio has Marriage Equality
June 30, 2015
COLUMBUS, OH — With last week’s historic ruling by the Supreme Court affirming marriage equality for everyone regardless of what state they live in, a new world of opportunities is opening for Ohio’s LGBT community. But many Ohioans may not realize that once the wedding bells are done ringing, they have a special opportunity to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Getting married is considered a “qualifying life event” under the Affordable Care Act. This means that newly-married couples qualify for a “special enrollment period,” which allows them to sign up for a new health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or make changes to the plan they enrolled in during the last open enrollment period.
So when LGBT Ohioans tie the knot, they can start their new life together with the protection of health insurance that fits their needs and budget.
Here are 6 things LGBT Ohioans should know now that they can legally get married:
- All newly-married couples can enroll in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace right away, before enrollment reopens in November. If you get married this summer, you’ll have an opportunity to enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. Additionally, if you’re applying for Medicaid, every state must recognize your marriage regardless of where you got married. That way you and your spouse can both get covered and not spend the summer without health insurance.
- You’ll have 60 days to sign up. The special enrollment period will start the day you get married and end 60 days later, so you’ll have time to sign up after the honeymoon. Just be sure to check out your options and pick a plan during that time-limited window so you don’t spend the rest of this year unprotected.
- Legally married couples – including same-sex newlyweds who are getting married in Ohio – can receive financial assistance as a married couple. In fact 85% of Ohioans who enrolled in coverage received financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums.
- The plans are not only affordable – they’re quality as well. Every plan must cover ten essential health services, including emergency room visits, prescription drugs, and preventive care. And remember: no one can be denied preventive coverage because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
- Free, one-on-one enrollment assistance from culturally competent experts is available. Ohioans can visit the Get Covered Connector at getcoveredamerica.org/connector to see where free, local enrollment assistance is available in their area and schedule an appointment. These assisters receive cultural competence training before becoming certified to provide assistance.
- If you don’t have health insurance, you might have to pay a fine. Your wedding is going to be incredibly exciting for you and your partner – but paying a fine for not having coverage won’t be. The fine for not being covered in 2015 is $325 per adult of 2 percent of your income, whichever is greater. And that’s not even counting the cost of care if you should get sick of injured.
The right to get married to your partner is now a reality for millions of Americans – and thousands of Ohioans – but don’t let another major opportunity slide under your radar. After you get married, visit healthcare.gov or use the Get Covered Connector to schedule a time with a free enrollment assister and find out about your health coverage options.
Other life changing events also qualify Ohio’s uninsured to enroll through a special enrollment period. These events include: certain changes in income, having a baby, or moving to a different coverage area. Enrollment in Medicaid is year-round for those that qualify.
In Ohio, Get Covered America is working with LGBT leaders and organizations across the state including Stonewall Columbus, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, and the Columbus Public Health LGBTQ Health Initiative to help LGBT Ohioans enroll. Get Covered America also serves as part of the Greater Columbus LGBTQ Health Coalition and will be participating in the inaugural Central Ohio LGBTQ Health Equity Conference October 30-31, 2015. The conference will gather health care professionals, community members, advocates, and community leaders to address the health needs and disparities for the LGBT community and share knowledge on how to improve health care in this community.
Three Things To Do for Men’s Health Month
June 29, 2015
June: the beginning of summer. Beach trips. Block-buster movies. Barbeques. Some of the longest days — and latest sunsets — of the year.
And don’t forget: June is also Men’s Health Month!
Health, health insurance, and going to the doctor might not be hot topics. But it’s important for men to have the facts they need about how to get covered, stay covered, and stay healthy.
You know taking care of your health is important, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to start. Here are 3 ways to take charge:
1. If you don’t have health insurance, see if you qualify to get covered (with financial help) right now.
Depending on your income and your family size, you might qualify for free or low-cost health coverage. And if you do qualify, you could sign up right away. Try this Calculator to find out!
And specific life events — like getting married, having a baby, or losing a job — could also make it possible to get covered. Check out this list of events and see if any have happened to you recently, or are in your future!
If neither of these situations applies to you, mark your calendar for November 1st — that’s when the marketplace opens for business.
2. Schedule a check-up — for free!
Even if you’re perfectly healthy, you should get a “tune-up.” And lots of preventive health care services like check-ups and screenings are FREE with your health insurance. With no co-pay! You could see a doctor for a regular check-up, and get screened for things like blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, and HIV.
3. Get the word out about Men’s Health Month.
Celebrate the month by making sure all the men in your life know how they can get health insurance — and how they can use it to stay healthy.
The Men’s Health Network is running a #ShowUsYourBlue campaign on social media. Wear blue in solidarity with Men’s Health Month, and you can share a picture with the hashtag #ShowUsYourBlue!
However you celebrate Men’s Health Month, remember that June isn’t just the start of the summer. It’s also a chance to get covered, get health care, and stay healthy!
Enroll America Ohio’s Statement on King v. Burwell Decision Affirming Financial Assistance Available to Ohioans
June 25, 2015
COLUMBUS, OH – Today, Trey Daly, Ohio State Director of Enroll America, issued the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court ruling on King v. Burwell, which affirmed that financial assistance will continue to be available to millions of Americans in federally-facilitated marketplace states:
“Today’s decision from the Supreme Court is a victory for the more than 161,000 Ohioans who receive financial help to pay for their coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. In fact, 85% of Marketplace enrollees in Ohio receive these tax credits, and the average tax credit in Ohio is $255 per month. After finally being able to access quality, affordable health coverage, these consumers can now be certain that the promise of that coverage remains there for them and that they can get the care they need. Consumers should know that nothing has changed; financial help to pay for their plans will be available. And for those who remain uninsured, they should know that financial help for health insurance is available and here to stay. We and our partners here in Ohio are hard at work preparing for the next open enrollment period when we plan to get even more Ohioans covered. Although we’ve always felt confident about the outcome of this case, it’s a relief to finally be able to move past these divisive arguments and continue our work making sure Ohioans know about the health insurance options available to them.”
5 Things Men Need to Know about the Affordable Care Act During Men’s Health Week
June 18, 2015
COLUMBUS, OH – In celebration of Men’s Health Week and Father’s Day, Get Covered America wants to give Ohio fathers the best gift around – information on how they can take care of their health this summer.
Whether you plan on hiking in the Hocking Hills, cycling down Loveland Bike Trail, coaching your kids soccer team, or simply staying home and reclaiming your man-cave, you should also consider making the appointment for your not-so-annual yearly visit to the doctor.
To keep their whole health in check, Ohio men should know these five things about the Affordable Care Act to keep themselves healthy and safe at any age:
- PLANS PROVIDE FREE PREVENTIVE SERVICES. Everybody knows most men don’t like going to the doctor but who doesn’t like free stuff? Now thanks to the Affordable Care Act you can get your annual checkup at no charge just to prove that you’re as healthy as you always knew you were! You can also get blood pressure screenings, diet counseling, and help for quitting smoking, among other services – completely free. Even the treadmill at the gym says it – “Consult with your physician before using this machine.” Well, this is your opportunity!
- PLANS MUST OFFER ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS. You’re adventurous and perhaps this summer you will try a new workout routine or fix an old cabinet at home. Even if you’re careful, you never know what could happen. Thankfully, new health plans must cover ten essential health benefits including emergency services, hospitalization, and prescription drugs. So if you do end up in the ER while rock climbing or cleaning the gutter, you know you’ll be covered.
- PLANS PROVIDE KEY PROTECTIONS. Pre-existing conditions like diabetes or a heart condition can no longer make you ineligible to get health coverage. In addition, health insurance companies are generally required to spend at least 80% of the money they take in on premiums for your health care and quality improvement activities instead of administrative costs. If your insurance company doesn’t meet these requirements, you’ll get a rebate.
- FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE TO HELP MAKE PLANS AFFORDABLE: Most Ohioans are eligible to receive financial assistance to help pay for their premiums. In fact, during the last enrollment period, 85% of Ohioans who signed up for a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace received help paying for their health insurance, significantly lowering their monthly premium. Quality and affordability: now that’s a great deal that cannot be passed.
- FREE, ONE-ON-ONE ENROLLMENT ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE: Want to sit down with an expert who can walk you through your health insurance options and help you pick a plan? Ohioans can now visit the Get Covered Connector atconnector.getcoveredamerica.org or call 1-800-648-1176 to see where free, local enrollment assistance is available in their area and schedule an appointment.
Even though open enrollment doesn’t begin again until the fall, if you experience a life-changing event – moving to a new residence, losing your current health plan, gaining citizenship, leaving incarceration, having a baby, getting married, and others – you may have 60 days from the day the life-changing event occurs to enroll during a special enrollment period. Enrollment in Medicaid is year-round for those who qualify.
Five Things LGBT Ohioans Need to Know about the Affordable Care Act
June 16, 2015
Columbus, OH – This month, Ohioans will come together in communities throughout the state for LGBT Pride Month events, which celebrate the many contributions and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. One key advancement for the LGBT community to celebrate this year is improved access to health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Though LGBT Americans often face unique obstacles when seeking health care, the Affordable Care Act included specific benefits and protections for the LGBT community that have helped to expand access to quality, affordable health coverage. In fact, according to a study by the Urban Institute, the uninsured rate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults has been almost cut in half since the middle of 2013. But many LGBT Ohioans still stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act and remain unaware of their options.
Here are five things LGBT Ohioans should know about how the Affordable Care Act can help them get covered and stay healthy:
- PLANS SOLD THROUGH THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE PROVIDE KEY PROTECTIONS FOR LGBT AMERICANS: Nobody can be denied preventive coverage because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression – providing historic new protections for the LGBT community. Additionally, people can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition like HIV or cancer.
- PLANS MUST OFFER KEY HEALTH BENEFITS TO EVERYONE: Every health plan must cover ten essential health benefits such as prescription medications, emergency room visits, and preventive services. Lifetime and annual caps on coverage are now also prohibited, which means historic new protections for HIV patients. Also insurance companies cannot deny transgender Americans free preventive services they need, regardless of their sex assigned at birth, their gender identity, or their recorded gender.
- ALL LEGALLY MARRIED COUPLES CAN ENROLL IN A PLAN THROUGH THE MARKETPLACE: Under the Affordable Care Act, legally married same-sex couples can enroll in a plan through the Marketplace, even if they live in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
- FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE TO HELP MAKE PLANS AFFORDABLE: Most Ohioans are eligible to receive financial assistance to help pay for their premiums. In fact, during the last enrollment period, 84% of Ohioans who signed up got help paying for health insurance, lowering their monthly premium.
- FREE, ONE-ON-ONE ENROLLMENT ASSISTANCE FROM CULTURALLY COMPETENT EXPERTS IS AVAILABLE: Ohioans can visit the Get Covered Connector to see where free, local enrollment assistance is available in their area and schedule an appointment. These enrollment assisters are trained before becoming certified to provide this assistance, including in matters of cultural competency.
In Ohio, Get Covered America is working with LGBT leaders and organizations across the state including Stonewall Columbus, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, and the Columbus Public Health LGBTQ Health Initiative to help LGBT Ohioans enroll. Get Covered America staff and volunteers will also be attending the Pride festivals in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland to let Ohioans know about their health care options.
Get Covered America also serves as part of the Greater Columbus LGBTQ Health Coalition and will be participating in the inaugural Central Ohio LGBTQ Health Equity Conference October 30-31, 2015. The conference will gather health care professionals, community members, advocates, and community leaders to address the health needs and disparities for the LGBT community and share knowledge on how to improve health care in this community.
Even though open enrollment has ended, there are still opportunities for Ohioans to enroll now through a special enrollment period through the Marketplace if they’ve experienced a life changing event like getting married, having a baby, or moving to a different coverage area. Enrollment in Medicaid is year-round for those that qualify.
Born in ’89
June 10, 2015
You might have at least one thing in common with Taylor Swift.
If you were born in 1989 (#BornIn89) like Taylor Swift, you’re turning 26 this year. And if you’ve been on a parent’s health insurance plan, your coverage might be coming to an end.
But don’t worry — shake it off because you’ll have new options in the health insurance marketplace. You can stay covered, and you’ll never miss a beat.
Here’s how it works:
- Your health insurance might stop at the end of the month you turn 26.
- Or it might stop at the end of this year (or later) — check with your plan for more details.
- After your coverage ends, you’ll have 60 days to sign up for your very own plan through the marketplace! What you’re looking for has been here the whole time.
Worried about paying for your new health insurance? Financial help could be available, and you might qualify for free or low-cost coverage! Click here to find out what you might qualify for.
We know change is hard. And needing to get new health insurance can totally be intimidating. Are we out of the woods yet?
But you have options, you could get help paying for your new health insurance, and you can get help applying — you’ve got this! Are we in the clear yet? In the clear yet? Good.
So, remember: Having health insurance will never go out of style, even after your 26th birthday. Just say yes.
Things college graduates need to know about getting covered
June 9, 2015
With graduation season upon us, graduates are busy thinking about their future plans. But often overlooked is making plans to get health insurance coverage.
Some tips to keep in mind when making decision about health coverage.
- If you’re under 26, you may be able to stay on your parents’ plan. If your parents’ plan covers children, you can stay on or be added to their health insurance plan. You can stay on their plan even if you are married, not living at home with your parents, not financially dependent on them, or eligible to enroll in your employer’s plan.
- If you can’t stay on your parents’ plan, graduating from college may qualify you for special enrollment. You do not have to wait for the enrollment period to begin in November to sign up for coverage. Special enrollment is available for 60 days from when you lose coverage.
- If you are turning 26 and can’t stay in your parents’ plan, you also qualify for a special enrollment period.
- Even if you are on a budget, there is a plan to fit your needs. This year, 87 percent of Texans who enrolled in a plan through the Marketplace received financial assistance to help pay their monthly premium.
- If you don’t get health care coverage, you may have to pay a fine. The fine for not having coverage in 2015 is $325 per adult or 2 percent of your income – whichever is greater.
- For more information, log into the Get Covered Connector at www.getcoveredamerica.org/connector.
Getting Hitched? Here’s What Ohio Newlyweds Need to Know About Getting Covered
June 8, 2015
COLUMBUS, OH – With June being the most popular month for weddings, Ohioans planning to walk down the aisle this month should know that after they get married, they can get quality affordable health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Until open enrollment begins again in the fall, Ohioans who experience a “qualifying life event” throughout the year, like getting married, might be eligible to sign up for health coverage through a special enrollment period. Before saying “I do,” here are a few things couples should know:
- You have 60 days to sign up. The special enrollment period will start the day you get married and end 60 days later, so you’ll have time to sign up after the honeymoon. Just be sure to check out your options and pick a plan during that time-limited window.
- You and your spouse have options. After you join your lives together, you have the option to join health insurance plans as well. During the special enrollment period, you can change your existing plan, sign up for a new plan, add dependents to your plan, join your spouse’s plan or add them to yours.
- You could get help paying for your plan. In fact, 85% of Ohioans who enrolled during the last open enrollment period received financial assistance that reduced the cost of their plan. You might even qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid. So you can find a plan that fits the needs and budget of your family.
- If you don’t have health insurance, you might have to pay a fine. The fine for not being covered in 2015 is to $325 per adult or 2 percent of your income – whichever is greater. And that’s not accounting for the cost of care you might have to pay if you get sick or injured without coverage. Having health coverage will help you start out your new lives on a strong financial foundation, so you can focus on buying a house or growing your family.
In Ohio, Get Covered America is working with faith leaders across the state to incorporate this information into their work to help newlyweds understand their health options and get covered.
Other life events like moving, having or adopting a child, or losing health coverage, among other circumstances, also could allow Ohioans to enroll through a special enrollment period. If you think you might be eligible to enroll through a special enrollment period, or year-round Medicaid, you can schedule a free appointment with an enrollment expert by visiting the Get Covered Connector athttp://www.getcoveredameria.org/connector.
SBCs, Insurance Cards, Oh My!
June 4, 2015
If you have insurance for the first time in a long time (or maybe for the first time in your life!), it can feel like there’s a lot of info to take in.
Let’s talk about 2 important documents:
- Your summary of benefits and coverage
- Your health insurance card
Every health insurance plan in the marketplace must have an easy-to-understand description of the plan’s benefits and what the plan covers. This document is called a summary of benefits and coverage, or SBC. It’s a document that is available from your insurer. Click here to view an example of an SBC.
The SBC will have information about the following:
- Out-of-pocket costs for your plan
- Services that are covered by your plan
- Services that are not covered by your plan
Your health insurance card should come in the mail after you enroll in a health insurance plan. Your insurance card will have information about your health insurance plan. It proves that you have health insurance.
Your health insurance card also gives your doctor’s or health care provider’s office information about your health insurance plan, like how much your co-pay is or where to call if they have questions about your coverage.
It’s a good idea to take your health insurance card to any doctor appointments and to the pharmacy when you get a prescription. Many people keep it in their wallet — just in case.
If you would like to request a copy of your summary of benefits and coverage or your health insurance card, you can call your insurance plan directly.
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