Time Running Out to Enroll in Affordable Care Act
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Detroit Free Press
March 27, 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 2014 to sign up.
Many of the people I have met have told me they were surprised at just how affordable Marketplace insurance can be.
In Detroit, a family of four earning $50,000 a year can get covered for as little as $115 per month. A 27-year-old earning $25,000 can get covered for as little as $99 per month.
Security and peace of mind are just a click or a 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 now working smoothly) or at 800-318-2596. You can even get help in person in your own community: Just go to localhelp.healthcare.gov and punch in your ZIP code. If you are a Spanish speaker, you can access our Spanish language website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, and you can get in-person help in Spanish, too.
So don’t delay! Join the 5 million Americans who have already signed up for a plan and the millions more who have learned that they are eligible for Medicaid.
During a recent visit to Michigan, I met a young woman named LaNika Wise. Like many people her age, she spent much of her 20s trying to figure out her career path and changed jobs often. Her income fluctuated with each move, so she bounced on and off a health plan. Ultimately, she spent the better part of 10 years without coverage.
After sustaining a volleyball-related concussion, however, she decided to try and get covered one more time. She logged onto Healthcare.gov and found a plan for less than $100 a month.
“A burden I didn’t even realize I was carrying was lifted off of my shoulders,” LaNika told us. “Now I can go anywhere and pursue my dreams because I have the confidence of knowing that I am covered.”
Before the Affordable Care Act, hardworking families in Detroit 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, it truly is a new day. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there is choice and competition. In fact, you can now choose from 52 qualified health plans.
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 considered 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 like 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.
Content last reviewed on May 21, 2014