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Coverage Can Be as Close as a Call or a Click

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By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette
March 13, 2014

If you or someone you care about does not have health care, it’s not too late to sign up for quality affordable coverage – but you’ll want to act today. The deadline to get insurance is March 31.

After that, you’ll have to wait until November to sign up.

Many of the people I’ve met have told me they were surprised at just how affordable marketplace insurance can be.

Here in Fort Wayne, a family of four earning $50,000 a year can get covered for as little as $104 per month. A 27-year-old earning $25,000 can get covered for as little as $96 per month.

Security and peace of mind are just a click or call away. You may even find that you’re eligible for assistance to lower the cost of your premium.

You can sign up 24 hours a day, seven days a week at HealthCare.gov (which is working smoothly) or at 1-800-318-2596. You can even get in-person help in your community: Visit localhelp.healthcare.gov and punch in your ZIP code. If you are a Spanish speaker, you can access our Spanish-language site at CuidadoDeSalud.gov. You can get in-person help in Spanish, too.

Join the 4 million Americans who have already signed up for a plan and the millions more who’ve learned they’re eligible for Medicaid for this year.

Let me tell you about one of these people.

Jacquie Green is a Hoosier who has been paying for very expensive health insurance premiums. She lives with psoriatic arthritis and other pre-existing medical conditions, therefore it’s difficult for her to get covered.

Last year, her monthly premium started to exceed $1,000 a month, even with a high deductible.

The marketplace has been a game changer for Green and her family. She signed up for a quality insurance plan on HealthCare.gov that costs her family only $276 a month. What’s more, she’s able to afford dental coverage for the first time in years – and in fact, the amount that she is saving in just one month is enough to cover her entire year’s dental premium.

Before the Affordable Care Act, hardworking families in Fort Wayne had few real options. Even if you worked hard and took responsibility, you could still have the rug pulled out from under you if you or someone in your family got sick, had an accident or experienced another hardship.

You could pay your premium dutifully every month, only to have your insurer refuse to pay for care when you needed it most because you hit an annual or lifetime cap in coverage expenses.

But today, here in Fort Wayne, it truly is a new day. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there are choice and competition.

In fact, you can now choose from 52 qualified health plans. Before the Affordable Care Act, many consumers had few if any real choices.

Unlike the old system, once you enroll, nobody can take your coverage away from you just because you get sick. And your insurance company can’t charge you more just because you are a woman; being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.

What’s more, by law, insurance companies now have to cover health services such as doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, ambulatory care and hospital stays. Preventive care such as cancer and cholesterol screenings are covered with no additional money out of your pocket.

But if you don’t enroll by March 31, you won’t get this security that comes with a marketplace plan – and you can’t enroll again until this fall.

The good news is that security for you and your family is only a click or call away: You just need to sign up by March 31 if you want marketplace coverage this year.