The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare” will impact every American, regardless of the size of the company they work for and whether they currently have health care insurance coverage or not. This significant change has millions of Americans unclear about the impact. And although the legislation was passed in March 2010 it is still a political hot potato.
Despite the political seesaw, there are things you can do right now to prepare for potential changes that may very well have an impact on you … your family … and your access to health care and insurance.
Open Enrollment Starts October 1st. Learning Starts Now at HealthCare.Gov – The Health Insurance Marketplace Website.
While the legislation is not officially scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014, the administration is providing citizens with information now. To that end, the administration has launched “The Health Insurance Marketplace” – https://www.healthcare.gov.
Starting October 1, you will be able to shop and compare plans offered by providers in your area on the healthcare.gov website. By visiting the website, you can learn more about the legislation, “comparison shop” different insurance plans, explore your options, and even complete an “early” application for coverage.
You will see a full comparison of plans and pricing. You will also have the option to enroll for coverage. These plans are what the administration is calling a “Marketplace Plan” or “Marketplace Coverage.” Your coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014.
What You Can Find Out Now
The HealthCare.gov website provides a wealth of detailed information. In addition, you can fill out an application and the site will provide you with a comparison of plans available to you by different insurance companies who will service your area.
If you have health insurance where you work you can elect to keep it. The administration refers to this as “minimum essential coverage.” You can also use tools on the healthcare.gov website to shop and compare. In some cases, you may be able to switch if that will work better for you and your family.
You can also check and find out if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Marketplace Coverage for Preexisting Conditions
No “Marketplace Plan” can turn you away or charge you a higher premium just because you have an illness or preexisting condition. And, no plan can charge more to women than they do to men. So if you have been denied coverage in the past – find out which insurers will cover you now under a Marketplace Plan.
Things to Ask and Consider Now
Every State determines how it will administer its Affordable Health Care and Marketplace Plans. So be sure to find out how your State plans to administer the coverage. If you work for a company – ask your human resources administrator for details. Know that you can still free to visit the website healthcare.gov website to compare your existing coverage and find out if you have options.
If you are self-employed or unemployed, it is very important that you check with your State government to find out what you can do now to prepare for the changes that will take place and impact you under the Affordable Care Act.