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Do You Have Health Insurance?
Whether the answer is yes or no, there are changes you need to know about.
The Affordable Care Act provides important consumer protections for health insurance purchasers and enables millions of Americans who are currently uninsured to buy affordable, high quality insurance.
If you currently have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act is already helping you – and will help you more in the years ahead. For example:
- The Affordable Care Act has already ended the insurance industry practice of discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions
- Lifetime benefit caps on insurance policies have been eliminated.
- Insurance companies no longer have absolute power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.
- Children can stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until they are 26.
- Medicare beneficiaries trapped in the ‘donut hole,’ are being given discounts on prescription drugs, as well as annual wellness visits and other preventive care for free.
- Tax credits are offered to small businesses who offer insurance to their employees.
- As of January 1, 2014, insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against anyone on the basis of pre-existing condition.
- As of January 1, 2014, insurance companies won’t be able to impose annual limits on your plan benefits.
- You may be eligible to receive federal financial assistance to help you purchase insurance – “Health Coverage Tax Credits.”
Click here for more information about what the Affordable Care Act does for Americans who already have health insurance.
If you don’t currently have health insurance, then you need to know about the big changes ahead. An important date in the phase-in timeline is rapidly approaching.
- The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance coverage as of January 1, 2014.
- The Affordable Care Act also established tax credits to reduce the cost of health insurance for low- and moderate-income families. Those tax credits will be available starting January 1, 2014, as well.
- The Affordable Care Act requires the establishment of health insurance “Marketplaces” in each state to offer private health insurance plans to individuals and families who can’t get health insurance through their employer or the federal government.
- These health insurance Marketplaces will open for business on October 1. At that point, individuals and families who don’t get health insurance through their employers will be able to shop for affordable, high-quality private health insurance plans through “marketplaces” in each state. These policies will take effect on or after January 1, 2014 – depending on when you sign up. The Marketplace will make it easier to compare plan costs and coverage so that you can sign up for the private health insurance plan that best meets your unique needs. In the Marketplace, plans must treat you fairly and can’t deny you coverage because of pre-existing or chronic conditions. You can also get information about Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the tax credits you can use right away to lower your monthly health plan premiums. You’ll see all the programs you’re eligible for right after you apply.
You can learn more about your health insurance options at the HealthCare.gov website (CuidadoDeSalud.gov) or the 24-hours-a-day toll-free consumer call line at 1-800-318-2596. Hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325 for assistance.
Once you’ve decided on a plan, you don’t need to go somewhere else. Starting in October, you’ll be able to enroll directly through HealthCare.gov as well.
If you own a small business, there is information for you too.
Enrollment starts October 1, 2013, but you can visit HealthCare.gov NOW to get ready.
Want help or need more information? As you explore your options in the Marketplace, you may want to talk to someone if you have questions or need help. If you’re on HealthCare.gov, take advantage of the web chat feature. You’ll get instant access to someone who can talk you through the process or answer your questions.
No computer? No problem. There are people in your community who can give you personal help with your choices. You can call a toll-free number, 1-800-318-2596, and talk to a trained customer service representative about the Marketplace.
Visit HealthCare.gov now to get all the information you need about the Marketplace. Come back October 1, fill out an application, and enroll. It’s that simple.
You can get help from my office as well. The implementation of such a major new law is never easy. Inevitably, there will be glitches and unforeseen difficulties, but Congress and the Administration will address these issues when they arise – and in the end, this process will improve the quality and affordability of health care for all Americans.
Please let me or my office know of any problems you are experiencing with your health care or health insurance, and my staff will work with you to address them. The staff in my Penn Hills office can answer any questions you may have or help you through the application process. Please feel free to contact my Penn Hills office at 412-241-6055 or stop by the office, which is located at 11 Duff Road, Penn Hills, PA 15235.