Family Life: Time is now to enroll in health insurance marketplace

By Chelsey Byers

Folks, there are only two weeks left to enroll in a Health Insurance Plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, a law that requires individuals to purchase health insurance coverage.

The ACA was passed to make sure that everyone has access to health insurance and that the insurance covers 10 essential health benefits:

1. ambulatory patient services;

2. emergency services;

3. hospitalization;

4. maternity and newborn care;

5. mental health and substance abuse services;

6. prescription drugs;

7. rehabilitative services and devices;

8. laboratory services;

9. prevention and wellness services; and

10. pediatric services (including oral and vision care).

Enrollment ends March 31 for health coverage for this year. It has been reported that the deadline will not be extended. If health insurance coverage is not purchased, there is a penalty. The individual penalty increases each year through 2016.

The online Health Insurance Marketplace has been open since Oct. 1 for individuals and small businesses to shop for health insurance. Coverage begins depending on when one enrolls. The ACA will provide families and small businesses that currently do not have an insurance option to choose health coverage that meets their needs based on their budget.

For those 65 and older, Medicare coverage is not obtained through the ACA Marketplace. Therefore, for the most part, people on Medicare are not overly affected by the ACA with the exception of some benefits.

The federal Medicare site, medicare.gov, highlights five things that people on Medicare should know about the ACA and their Medicare benefits.

There are care navigators who are available locally to help people work through the sign-up process. According to the Get Covered Illinois website, there are seven sites in the Champaign-Urbana area. For more information and resources on the Affordable Care Act, visit: web.extension.illinois.edu/aca/.

For more information on family life-related topics, visit our local University of Illinois Extension website, web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/ or contact Chelsey Byers at 333-7672 or at clbyers@illinois.edu.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (1):Health Care

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