Countdown to Coverage
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Posted September 23, 2013
For years, millions of Americans have been denied the security and peace of mind of having health insurance. Too many have been priced out, locked out, or dumped out by insurance companies.
But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all of that is changing. January 1, 2014 -- 100 days from today --marks a new day, when coverage will be more accessible and affordable. On that day, coverage will begin for those who signed up for a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace by December 15, 2013.
The Marketplace is a new, simpler way to purchase health insurance –all in one place. You can go online or call to find and compare options, see if you qualify for lower costs, and select coverage that meets your needs and budget.
Here’s what else is happening on January 1:
- Health insurance plans cannot refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes or asthma.
- More people will qualify for Medicaid.
- Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to impose annual dollar limits on coverage for essential health benefits.
- Being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition, and insurance companies cannot charge women more than men for the same coverage.
- The small business tax credit expands.
Of course, the new year is not the only important date coming up. October 1, 2013, marks the beginning of an extensive six-month-long open enrollment and public education campaign. You can enroll through the end of March.
Many will enroll online at www.HealthCare.gov. For some, it will be easier to enroll by phone (1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or by mail. To make the process even easier, we have trained local assisters to help answer all of your coverage questions.
Spread the word to your friends, neighbors, and colleagues that new options for affordable, quality health coverage are in sight.