With all of the news coverage surrounding the Affordable Care Act over the past few years, one of the most heavily-discussed aspects of healthcare reform has been the state exchanges where consumers will be able to shop for coverage. Health insurance “marketplaces” will be the primary location where individuals and families across the country will be able to research and purchase health insurance coverage.
The goal of the exchanges is to function as a “one stop shop” for those seeking coverage. That doesn’t mean that consumers are left completely on their own in the process, however. Agents with experience in the health care market, in addition to nonprofit organizations at the community level, will be on hand to assist the many new purchasers throughout the process. The exchanges have opened as of October 1st, and they will open for re-enrollment at the same time next year. Those who wish to have health insurance coverage in place by January 1st, 2014, however, should visit the health insurance exchanges prior to that date.
Affordable Choices in One Location
The healthcare marketplaces will allow consumers and their families to explore healthcare plans within their budgets. Set up with a wide variety of choices, consumers will be able to compare plans side by side and determine which options represent the best plans for them. With the assistance of nonprofits and experienced agents, the process will also provide background educational information for those seeking coverage.
In the past, attempting to parse through comprehensive information on healthcare plans involved reading very dense and confusing information, which further discouraged some individuals and their families from obtaining coverage. With the new health insurance exchanges, all information about approved plans has been collected and shared in one central location, giving applicants an opportunity to learn about everything that’s available before making a commitment. You’ll be able to review information about benefits, plans, deductibles, and co-pays in your area to identify a program most appropriate for you.
Easy Application Procedures
Once you’ve explored the healthcare plans approved in your state, you can move forward with the application process to get your healthcare set up quickly. Marketplaces provide information about applying online, by mail, or in person. Part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act includes assistance from qualified helpers and individuals known as Navigators, who can provide more information and help in choosing a final plan. Plans are set up in three categories known as bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, making it even easier to break down the application process.
Subsidies For Low Income Patients
Individuals and families with lower incomes will have subsidies to help them afford the coverage offered through the health insurance marketplaces. Maximum monthly premiums are set at $57 for an individual with a yearly income of $17,235. Those with limited income may be eligible for expanded Medicaid benefits, too, depending on the state. To learn more about what you may be able to receive to support your healthcare, check out the tax credit calculator or call our customer service help line.