Are You Covered?
December 6, 2018
November 1 marked the beginning of open enrollment for 2019 health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Since debuting in 2013, the Health Insurance Marketplace has provided access to low-cost healthcare coverage for millions who would otherwise be without health insurance or who are interested in taking advantage of more cost-effective alternatives to their current coverage.
Having health insurance is an important step to achieving and maintaining good health, and the Health Insurance Marketplace has made access to comprehensive coverage a reality for many individuals. Being covered allows you to be proactive when it comes to your health by taking advantage of preventive care and other resources that can help detect disease earlier and help manage chronic conditions. And by taking steps to make yourself and your family healthier, you’re helping to make our community healthier, too.
This year’s open enrollment period runs until December 15, 2018. This is a shorter time frame than last year’s open enrollment period, which means you have six weeks to enroll in a plan if you do not currently have coverage; make changes to your current coverage; or renew your current plan as it stands today. If you have experienced a major life event, such as health coverage loss, marriage, adoption or having a baby, you may qualify for an extended special enrollment period after December 15.
All Marketplace plans include the following coverage:
- Essential health benefits, including doctor’s visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription medication, pregnancy and childbirth (including birth control and breastfeeding), mental health and more
- Preventive care to prevent illnesses, disease and other conditions, and help detect illness and disease earlier for more effective treatment, and
- Treatment for pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer and others.
Getting ready to enroll
Before you enroll, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you’re ready to choose the right plan for you and your family:
- Explore the coverage options available at www.HealthCare.gov.
- Refresh your knowledge of how insurance works, including deductibles, out-of-pocket payments, copayments, etc.
- Make a list of important questions that will help you make the right decision, like “Can I stay with my current doctor?” and “Can I use my local hospital?” As you compare plans, consider whether the plan includes any physicians or providers you or your family regularly see, including primary care providers, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, ENTs, dermatologists and other specialists.
- Gather what you’ll need to apply or re-enroll, including information about your household, income, tax information and more. A handy checklist can be found at www.HealthCare.gov.
- Set your budget so that you can choose a plan with financial requirements that best meet what you are able to afford.
There are several ways you can enroll, including online, by phone, through an agent or broker, with in-person help or by mail. For more information on how to enroll via the method of your choice, as well as other resources that can assist in ensuring that you and your family are covered for 2019, visit www.HealthCare.gov.
Mark Holyoak is the chief executive officer at Wilson Medical Center.