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Answers to Common Health Care Reform Questions

Health Care Reform open enrollment begins in -325 days! Please review the frequently asked questions and answers below for more information on health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, and how they could impact you.

What is health care reform? Drop
  • Healthcare reform refers to the Patient Protection and (PPACA) which was implemented into law on March 23, 2010. It is part of an ongoing process to help our country’s health system work better. It significantly affects how Americans access and pay for health care and was designed to help many Americans who have been uninsured be able to get health insurance. At GlobalHealth, we have been a leader in making healthcare insurance affordable and in improving the overall health of the members we serve. We are proud to join efforts to reform the system by making a variety of health plans available to individuals and small businesses on the new Federal Exchange or Marketplace created as a result of health care reform.

What does health care reform mean to me? Drop
  • If you have been unable to get health insurance, PPACA makes it possible for you to get coverage for yourself and / or your family. If you haven’t been able to afford coverage, the law includes provisions for subsidies and tax credits to help reduce the monthly premium payments or costs associated with coverage. If you have a health condition that made it difficult to find an insurance company willing to cover you, the new law removes those obstacles. Insurance companies will be required to provide coverage for an increased number of preventive wellness services and the law even sets a minimum percentage of the premium dollar collections which the insurance companies must spend on patient care.

What if I can’t afford health insurance? Drop
  • The Exchange or Health Plan Marketplace will include plans in four coverage levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with corresponding coverages and rates. Individuals are encouraged to review the options to find the plan that fits their needs and budget. Individuals and families with household incomes up to four times the Federal Poverty Level may qualify for financial assistance. A new kind of tax credit could lower monthly premiums. Depending on your household income, you may even qualify for one of the $0 premium plans. When the enrollment website becomes operational, it should include tools to help you calculate your premiums, out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles so you can make an informed decision before enrolling in any plan.

What do I need to do? Drop
  • Open enrollment begins October 1, 2013. You must enroll by December 15th in order for coverage to begin on January 1, 2014. A special online site will be set up to allow you to shop the various options, calculate your expenses and compare prices and benefits. (Open enrollment continues through March 31st, but sign-ups after December 15th will have delayed effective dates after January 1st.) Before October 1st, you should start figuring out what your estimated household income will be in 2014. And, if you’re employed at a small company, talk to your employer about whether the company will be offering employer-sponsored health insurance.

What if I have a pre-existing condition, like diabetes? Drop
  • The new law has a provision called “guaranteed issue” which means you cannot be turned down for coverage because of your medical health or history. Insurance companies are required to sell coverage to anyone who applies. (You must be a US citizen or in the country legally to purchase coverage through the exchange.)

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Key Health Care Reform Dates

August 1, 2013

Prepare. Calculate household income and look at health care usage, expense and budget for anyone who will need to buy health insurance from the Exchange/ Marketplace.

Sept 1, 2013

Double check. Recheck household income figures and health needs, current expenses and budget. Write down any prescriptions taken regularly by you or any family members buying health insurance.

Oct 1, 2013

Open enrollment starts. Exchanges/ Health Plan Marketplace open. Check back with this site for details on enrollment website and phone number.

Dec 15, 2013

Last day to enroll and have health insurance coverage effective January 1, 2014. (Enrollment continues through March, but the effective dates of enrollments after December 15 will be delayed.)

Mar 31, 2014

Last day for Open Enrollment. Health Insurance Exchanges close.
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