The Affordable Care Act Kicks In: Important Facts for People with MS and Their Families
As of October 2013 most people who do not already have health insurance can sign up for coverage that takes effect as early as January 2014 through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. If you already have coverage, learn about what the new law means for you. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers new benefits including tax credits that will make coverage more affordable, and prohibit insurers from refusing to cover or charge more if someone has a pre-existing condition like MS. Below are information and resources about the new law and about new health insurance options.
ACA Fact Sheet Series
- Key Considerations for Choosing a Health Plan
- Application Checklist for Health Insurance Marketplace
- Buying Individual Insurance
- Changes to Job-based Insurance Coverage
- Changes to Medicare
- Help for People with High Medical Expenses
What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
What do Health Insurance Marketplace Plans Cover?
Will I Face a Penalty if I Do Not Have Health Insurance?
When and How Do I Enroll?
Is There Consumer Assistance Available?
Q: What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
Opened October 1, 2013, the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes called “exchange(s)”) is intended to facilitate enrollment in insurance coverage by allowing individuals and families to compare the coverage options available to them in terms of price, benefits, quality and other features, and select the one that best meets their needs. Everything you read about your options and costs will be in plain language. Find the Marketplace in your state. top
Q: What Do Health Insurance Marketplace Plans Cover?
Every health insurance plan in the new Marketplace offers comprehensive coverage, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and more. Under the new law, all health insurance including Medicare and Medicaid plans must cover recommended preventive care (such as cancer screenings and vaccines) at no additional cost to you. top
Q: Will I Face a Penalty if I Do Not Have Health Insurance?
You may. This chart ‘The New Requirement to Have Health Insurance or Face a Penalty’ describes exactly who and who does not have to have health insurance or pay a penalty. top
Q: When and How Do I Enroll?
For coverage starting in 2014, you can enroll during Open Enrollment--now through March 31, 2014. If you miss the initial Open Enrollment opportunity, you will have to wait for next year's annual Open Enrollment unless you qualify for Special Enrollment due to certain circumstances such as getting married or having a baby. For coverage to begin on January 1, 2014, make sure you enroll by December 23, 2013.
You can apply for coverage online, over the phone, by mail, and in some places, in-person. When you apply online, you will fill out an application and see all the available health plans in your area. You will need to provide information about your household size and income in order to find out if you qualify for lower monthly premiums, and if you qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs. top
Q: Is There Consumer Assistance Available?
Yes, there is a toll-free telephone help line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). There is also an online chat service, as well as specially trained Navigators who offer un-biased information, education and enrollment assistance to consumers at no cost. top