This is a sponsored post for The Motherhood and Anthem Blue Cross. All opinions are 100% my own.
When I was in my 20′s, I never worried about health insurance, even though I had it. It just seemed like a given to me. I got insurance cards in the mail, if I got sick, I would go to the doctor, get better- end of story. Then I became a mom and suddenly I read everything possible. What could I do, couldn’t I do, what I should do all for the care of my little girl. But something changed, mainly the fact that we didn’t have health insurance. While my daughter has always had some form of health insurance, my husband and I have had to do without. Always on that cusp of making too much for state insurance but too little to afford our own, we’ve read almost everything out there on the upcoming Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) to see where exactly we would fit in and at what cost. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to attend a very informative webinar where I got to hear all about the upcoming changes and what they would mean for me and my family.
Here is a quick summary of what I learned:
- Everyone can buy health insurance regardless of whether they have a pre-existing condition.
- Women are charged no more than men.
- If you do not get insurance through your work – for example you are self-employed – you can get insurance through an online marketplace, or exchange.
- If you need and qualify for help paying for coverage on the exchange, you can get help with government subsidies.
- If government subsidies don’t offer the assistance you need, you can get coverage through Medicaid.
- A number of benefits are included no matter what. Things like emergency services, maternity and newborn care, pediatric services, mental health and substance use disorder services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management. They called these “essential benefits.”
Four options to get health insurance for the next year:
- Continue purchasing insurance through your or your spouse’s employer
- Buy health insurance yourself – either through exchanges, direct for insurance companies or through traditional brokers
- Enroll in government programs like Medicare or Medicaid plans – if you are eligible
- Go without insurance – but pay a tax penalty (1% of your yearly income before taxes)
What are the Health Insurance Exchanges?
- A health insurance “exchange” is just another word for “marketplace.” Works similarly to Amazon, Expedia or Travelocity and lets you compare health insurance options. Public and private health insurance exchanges will operate in a similar way
- Plans will be available for sale October 1, with coverage starting on January 1st of next year. Each state will have its own exchange serving people who buy health insurance for just themselves and their families
- The vast majority of people who are currently covered by their employers will not see a change or have to use the public exchange
When can you use the exchanges?
- Enrollment begins: October 1, 2013
- Enrollment ends: March 31, 2014
- Coverage begins: January 1, 2014
ß NOTE: For those who sign up before December 15th
Here are some websites you can visit to learn more:
There are plenty of changes coming and I urge everyone to talk to your provider and figure out what works best for you and your family. Healthcare is extremely important and knowledge is power.