The Affordable Care Act is ushering in some major changes in regards to the way Americans approach their healthcare. While some citizens still debate the efficacy of this new program, there is no denying that every single member of the United States will be affected by it, in some way or another. This October, the health insurance marketplace is scheduled to open, providing for the public a new method of investigating and acquiring health insurance coverage. Here is a breakdown of what to expect from the October opening of the health insurance marketplace:
What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
The marketplace is, quite literally, a virtual (or, web-based) marketplace where you can shop for health insurance. Through the online user interface, you can access information about all of the health insurance options available to you (based on your current level of income), compare them side by side, and see how they measure up against your current policy.
How does the Marketplace Work?
Basically, in order to access information through the health insurance marketplace, you will need to provide some basic information about yourself (and your family, if applicable) on an online application. Information you will be required to provide includes your household size and your income. In return, you will get a comprehensive list of the health insurance plans and programs available to you. These may include coverage through private insurers, or even free and/or reduced-cost programs through the federal Medicaid program or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
A majority of American citizens will be eligible to make use of the health insurance marketplace. In order to qualify for marketplace usage, you must be a United States citizen (or a legally-allowed national or visitor), a resident in the United States, and not incarcerated. If you live in a United States territory, then you may be able to use a U.S. health insurance marketplace specific to your territory (if applicable), but you are not able to obtain health insurance coverage through the standard federal or state marketplace.
Does Coverage begin in October?
Although the health insurance marketplace opens in October, enabling enrollment into health insurance plans offered through the marketplace, actual coverage doesn’t begin until January of 2014. This means that you can get plan information, including pricing, beginning October 1st, but your coverage plan won’t go into effect until the beginning of next year.
The Internet marketplace interface is not the only option for those looking to apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. You may call 1-800-318-2596 any time of the day or night, any day of the week, to get more information about the upcoming opening of the health insurance marketplace.
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