Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Health care - finding coverage that fits your budget, needs

Finding Affordable Health Coverage
With the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act  health insurance has changed and will be changing in important ways, especially in 2014, when Americans will have access to affordable health insurance options via the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting October 1, 2013, you can use the Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs. You can compare important features of several plans side-by-side, all of them offering a full package of essential health benefits. You can see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you decide to enroll. Some states have set up (or are in the process of setting up) their own state health care exchanges. For Virginians, however, while Virginia's Department of Health provides health information, the state has not implemented/will not implement its own healthcare exchange/marketplace, so residents will use HealthCare.gov to get answers to questions and to enroll.

Key Dates
  • Oct. 1, 2013 - Open enrollment starts
  • Jan. 1, 2014 - Health coverage starts
  • March 31, 2014 - Open enrollment ends
Applying
You will need the following when you apply for health coverage:
  • Social Security Number (or document number if you are a legal immigrant)
  • Employer and income information for every member of your household needing coverage (pay stubs/W-2 forms)
  • Policy number(s) for any current health insurance plan(s) covering members of your household
  • A completed Employer Coverage form for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for
Learn More
Even though open enrollment does not begin until October 1, you can answer a few quick questions on the HealthCare.gov website to get:
  • A list of coverage options you may qualify for (specific plans and prices available Oct. 1)
  • Answers that will help you make good decisions
  • A personalized checklist to help you get ready to apply
You may also want to explore the Kaiser Family Foundation website, which features "An Early Look at Premiums and Insurer Participation in Health Insurance Marketplaces, 2014."

For Virginians
For more details on how the Affordable Health Care Act impacts Virginia residents, see the HHS.gov website and the Sept. 17, 2013 Washington Post article, "How to buy insurance under Obamacare if you live in Virginia if you live in Virginia."

Protect Yourself From Fraud/Identity Theft
  • Do not give out your personal health or financial information to someone who contacts you or comes to your home uninvited, even if they say they are from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Keep personal and account numbers private. Do not give this information to companies you didn't contact or in response to unsolicited communications.
  • If something sounds fishy or confusing, visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

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