Lupita is a single mother who can’t afford health insurance. She is a registered dental assistant working overtime to make ends meet. Not having health insurance is scary for Lupita. She knows that something like a car accident or an illness will be financially devastating.
Many Americans like her understand the importance of health insurance but cannot afford it. Things will start changing for them from October 1, 2013. That is when open enrollment starts for Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
If you don’t know about Affordable Care Act yet then this is what you need to know to get started.
Affordable Care Act or Obamacare in a Nutshell
- Under Affordable Care Act health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny health insurance for preexisting conditions. They can’t deny coverage to smokers and seniors.
- Health carriers cannot charge more from smokers and those with preexisting conditions.
- The act makes health insurance policies more transparent. Health insurance marketplaces have been created where interested carriers can list their products. Four types of policies will be sold through the marketplace. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Bronze policies are cheapest with lower coverage and higher deductibles. Platinum policies are the most expensive but also have more coverage and lower deductibles. Participating health insurance companies will have to offer standardized products. Buyers can compare policies online. You may like to read this article to know where you should go to register.
- Sate will provide financial assistance who can’t afford health insurance
Can’t Afford Health Insurance? Now You Can
Buying health insurance through the marketplace is not mandatory. You can still buy it outside the marketplace. Marketplace provides a good alternative. So if you are interested in buying your health insurance from the marketplace here is what you need to do.
Step 1: Set Up Your Account
The first step is to create your account. Start the process by visiting your state’s marketplace website. I wrote this blog post which has links to all the websites. The process of setting up an account is very simple.
Step 2: Fill The Online Application Form
This form requires you to provide information about you and your family. Keep information like your income, current health coverage income etc. handy.
Step 3: Compare Your Options
Once you have filled the online application you will be able to see all the options you qualify for. The options will include private insurance plans, children health insurance program. The website will also tell you if you qualify for low cost or free coverage through Medicaid.
Step 4: Choose a Plan & Enroll
The final step is to choose a suitable plan and enroll. The coverage will start from 1 January, 2014. If you need health insurance for the intervening period then you have to choose from currently available options.