Special Tribute

In this month of October, we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), the influential Italian opera composer of the nineteenth century.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi

Verdi also devoted himself to the health and well-being of others, founding what is today the Casa di Riposo, the foundation in Milan, Italy for retired musicians.
Giuseppe Verdi

Affordable Care Act

Health Insurance Marketplace
Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, M.A., M.S.
Posted October 31, 2013

Affordable Care Act: The ACA is a set of health insurance reforms signed by President Obama in 2010. A key part of the health law requires that almost everyone in the U.S. have health insurance with essential benefits by 2014.

If you have health insurance with essential benefits from your employer, or through a government program, such as Medicare or Medicaid, you don’t have to do anything.

If you do not have health insurance, you must obtain coverage in 2014, or pay a penalty fee at tax time for the 2014 year.

Health Insurance Marketplaces: Health Insurance Marketplaces are a new way to help uninsured persons to choose and to buy health insurance.

The official Health Insurance Marketplace site is HealthCare.gov

For a one-page guide, go to Get Covered

To save money, go to How Can I Save

Important Dates:

  • Open Enrollment Began: October 1, 2013

  • Open Enrollment Closes: March 31, 2014

  • Coverage Can Begin: January 1, 2014

All Plans Must Include Ten Essential Benefits:

  • Ambulatory patient services

  • Emergency services

  • Hospitalization

  • Maternity and newborn care

  • Mental health and substance use disorder services

  • Prescription drugs

  • Rehabilitation services and devices

  • Laboratory services

  • Preventive and wellness services

  • Pediatric services

Marketplace Health Plan Categories: Plans are separated into four categories, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, based on the percentage the plan pays of the average overall cost of providing essential benefits to members.

The percentages the plans will spend, on average are:

  • Bronze: 60 percent

  • Silver: 70 percent

  • Gold: 80 percent

  • Platinum: 90 percent

Apply: You may apply for health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace by phone, by postal mail, in person, or online. Application is a four-step process:

Step 1: Create an account.

Step 2: Apply for Marketplace coverage.

Step 3: Pick a plan.

Step 4: Enroll.

Find Help:

Phone: The Federal Consumer Call Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-318-2596 toll free (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Assistance is available in 150 languages. You can talk free of charge with a real person.

Postal Mail: Health Insurance Marketplace, Department of Health and Human Services, 465 Industrial Blvd., London, KY 40750-0001

In Person: To find a qualified person to help near you, go to Find Local Help. In all states, there are people trained and certified to help you to understand your health coverage options and enroll in a plan. Helpers are known by different names, such as Navigators, application assisters, certified application counselors, and government agencies. There is no charge for assistance.

Official Website: HealthCare.gov

Start Early: The Health Insurance Marketplace is new. So, there will be times when you will need to wait, whether you are on the phone, in person, or online. If possible, start early to learn about the application process.

Connect with the Marketplace:

Healthcare.gov/Get Email Updates

HealthCare.gov/blog

Twitter.com/HealthCaregov

Facebook.com/HealthCareGov

YouTube.com/HealthCareGov

Other Helpful Websites:

 Kaiser Family Foundation

Insure Kids Now

Thank You

I would like to thank Alice Pappas, American Medical Writers Association colleague, for her spirited professional encouragement, and Gail Langer, health reference librarian, Glenview (IL) Public Library, for sharing the concise GPL “Affordable Care Act Information Guide.”

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