Obamacare. Whether you love it or hate it, the new health care law– the Affordable Care Act – is here to stay. This could mean some big changes in your choices for health insurance. One of the largest provisions of the new healthcare law is the creation of State Exchanges, now known as Health Insurance Marketplaces. These Marketplaces provide an alternative health insurance so if you are unhappy with your employer coverage, are paying for your insurance yourself, or have no health insurance at all, these Marketplaces can provide you with alternative health insurance options. Enrollment is from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 and coverage begins January 1, 2014.
How do I enroll?
You have several options, online by mail, or in-person with the help of a Navigator or other qualified helper. Downloadable and paper applications are available at www.healthcare.gov and you can call (800) 318-2596 24/7 for further assistance. For further questions, such as where to locate a Navigator to apply in person visit, www.healthcare.gov, a government run website providing substantial information about the Marketplaces and the enrollment process.
Are the Marketplaces available in all 50 states?
Yes, all states will offer Marketplaces. The only difference is that some states have opted to run their own Health Insurance Exchanges (like California, Massachusetts, and Washington) and others have elected to let the federal government run their exchange (like Texas, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania) and still other states have developed a partnership between the state and federal governments to manage their Marketplaces (like Illinois, West Virginia, or Utah). Visit www.healthcare.gov/marketplace to see what path your state has taken.
As we prepare for open enrollment, CMS has soft launched a new online “Local Help” function to help locate in person enrollment assistance in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
At LocalHelp.healthcare.gov users can input their geographic location to identify local consumer assistance destinations to serve consumers and small businesses.