This week we hit the mark of only 100 days until the Health Insurance Marketplaces open for business. If you are not familiar with the Health Insurance Marketplace, you are not alone. The federal government just began its promotional launch this week as well.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, most Americans are required to have health insurance coverage by January 1, 2014. To help make it easier for people to find and purchase health insurance coverage, the ACA required each state to either set up a web-based health insurance exchange or to participate in a federally run health insurance marketplace. If you are not sure what your state is doing, check the chart below:
|State-Run Marketplace||State-Fed Partnership||Federally Run Marketplace|
|District of Columbia||Iowa||Florida|
|Rhode Island||North Carolina|
If you live in a state that is participating in the federally run marketplace, you will be able to find and purchase health insurance at www.healthcare.gov starting on October 1, 2013.
After entering some basic information about yourself, you will see insurance plans available in your area, the benefits they offer, and the costs of those plans. You will also have the opportunity to find out if you qualify for help in paying your premiums through tax credits.
We don’t know yet what insurance plans will be offered in the Marketplace nor do we know exactly how much plans will cost. What we do know is that insurance plans offered in the Marketplace cannot turn you down for coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, your plan will not have any annual or lifetime maximum benefits , and you will be guaranteed to receive “essential health benefits.”
If you have questions about the Marketplace, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services opened up a call center which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that you can call. The number is 1-800-318-2596.