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Health Insurance Marketplace: Potential Benefits for People with MS

October 4, 2013

As of October 1, 2013, most people who do not already have health insurance can sign up for coverage that takes effect as early as January 2014. Shopping for coverage is easier now that Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes called "Exchanges") is in place – in all states. Individuals can apply for coverage online, over the phone, by mail and in some places, in-person.

Even if a person already has coverage, the new law could mean changes to job-based coverage, to Medicare, for people who buy their own coverage and for people who have high medical expenses. Tax credits and other help with costs will make coverage more affordable for individuals, families and small businesses. Starting in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage, or charge more because of a pre-existing condition like MS or any other health problem. If a person had coverage that was limited or cost more due to a pre-existing condition, these limits and higher rates are now eliminated. All health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid plans must cover recommended preventive care (such as cancer screenings and vaccines) at no additional cost.

Every health insurance plan in the new Marketplace offers comprehensive coverage, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and more. Individuals can compare insurance options based on price, benefits, quality and other features in plain language that makes sense. One-to-one help is now available from new ‘Navigators’ – health insurance counselors offering un-biased information, education and enrollment assistance to consumers at no cost.

Individuals can apply for Health Insurance Marketplace insurance now. Open enrollment for 2014 ends on March 31, 2014; outside of open enrollment, you can't enroll in Marketplace coverage unless you have a qualifying life event. Beginning 2014, most people are required to have health coverage. If they don’t, they may have to pay a fee.

Learn more about the new law, the Affordable Care Act and implications for people affected by MS online. Or call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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