Four Ways To Access the Health Insurance Marketplace

There are four ways to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. They are:

  • Apply online. Visit HealthCare.gov to get started.
  • Apply by phone. Call 800-318-2596 to apply for a health insurance plan and enroll over the phone.
  • Apply in person. visit a trained counselor to get information and apply in person. Find out who can help at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.
  • Apply by mail. Complete a paper application and mail it in. You can download the paper application form and instructions from HealthCare.gov.

The final deadline for enrollment for 2014 is March 30, 2014.

How the Marketplace Works

You have probably heard through various media the Health Insurance Marketplace aka the Exchange will open in a few days. A number of things are probably still unclear. You will need to create an account, enter information, pick a plan, then enroll in a health insurance plan. For coverage to start on January 1, 2014 you must enroll by December 15.

To help you get started here is a reprint of a September 20 article appearing in the HealthCare Blog, located at https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/. It reads in part:

You can apply for health coverage, compare all your options, and enroll in a plan in one streamlined application through the Health Insurance Marketplace. When open enrollment begins October 1, 2013, you can fill out your application and see the health coverage options available to you.

1. Create an account
First provide some basic information. Then choose a user name, password, and security questions for added protection.

2. Apply for Marketplace coverage
Enter information about you and your family, including your income, household size, and more. Use this checklist now to help you gather the information you’ll need.

3. Pick a plan
Next you’ll see all the health insurance plans and programs you’re eligible for and compare them side-by-side. You’ll also find out if you can get lower costs on Marketplace coverage.

4. Enroll
Choose a health insurance plan that meets your needs and enroll! Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014.

These are the 4 steps to getting covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you need help trained representatives are available by phone 24/7 at 1-800-318-2596. Visit the Health Insurance Blog for more information.

Navigators will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace this fall. Navigators are trained and certified to help you understand your health coverage options and enroll in a plan. Below are the recipients of Navigator grants awarded for New Jersey outreach efforts.

Center For Family Services, Inc.
Center For Family Services, Inc. (CFS) is a nonprofit human services agency with 90 years of experience serving individuals and families across the life span. CFS will serve the seven lower southern counties of New Jersey which include: Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland. The funds will be used to educate and help enroll consumers in the health insurance marketplace.

Orange ACA Navigator Project
The Orange ACA Navigator Project (OACANP) will integrate several successfully existing community-based systems to serve as a guide to help uninsured residents and small businesses in underserved and vulnerable populations. OACANP will help consumers learn about insurance options and assist with enrollment in health plans through the competitive health insurance marketplace.

Urban League of Hudson County
The Urban League of Hudson County (ULOHC) is a community based organization dedicated to advocating, facilitating, and promoting initiatives that allow local residents to participate in the development of urban neighborhoods. ULOHC will partner with the Urban League for Bergen County, the Urban League of Morris County and the Urban League of Union County to assist consumers in enrolling in the Marketplace.

Public Health Solutions
Public Health Solutions (PHS) is one of the largest non-profit organizations in New York City. PHS will partner with four community-based organizations in New Jersey to provide outreach and enrollment assistance in Hudson and Essex Counties.

FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Inc.
The FoodBank was created in 1984 and today serves over 260 pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding programs with almost 7 million pounds of food distributed annually. With the help of roughly 1,000 volunteers each year, the FoodBank’s programs work to eliminate hunger by providing emergency food, skills training, outreach programs and advocacy for families in need. Their work will help connect uninsured and underinsured individuals with information about their health insurance options.

New Jersey Medicaid Expansion Information Released

Federal and state officials are beginning to provide information so the uninsured can begin to apply for health coverage beginning October 1. Information is available at the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The following is a reprint of information recently posted to a New Jersey Family Care
web page.

Medicaid Eligibility Changes Effective October 1, 2013

The Affordable Care Act changes the Medicaid eligibility rules by streamlining the populations we cover under NJ FamilyCare. NJ FamilyCare will now cover: children, pregnant women, parents/caretaker relatives, and single adults/childless couples. There are no changes in eligibility for anyone applying for the Aged, Blind or Disabled program or those in Long Term Care.

  • Children 18 and under will continue to be eligible with higher incomes up to 350% FPL ($82,425 for a family of four). Parents still need to renew the coverage each year.
  • Parents/Caretaker Relatives with income up to 133% FPL ($31,322 for a family of four) must have tax dependent children in their household in order to be eligible under this category. This is a new Medicaid Expansion eligibility group. Dependent children in the household must be insured also.
  • Adults without dependent children among ages 19-64 with incomes up to 133% FPL ($15,282 single/ $20,629 couple) are considered to be another new Medicaid Eligibility Expansion Group.
  • Pregnant Women up to 200% FPL ($31,020 family of two). There are no changes.

ACA Standardizes Income and Household Size Calculations

Beginning October 1, 2013, financial eligibility for individuals seeking eligibility for NJ FamilyCare will based on their Modified Adjusted Gross Income or MAGI. This means the income and household size will be determined by their latest federal tax return which when filed, can be electronically verified. This new Tax Based Household size provides a simplified income calculation. Prior to ACA, the income was counted for parents/guardians and children up to age 21 that were living in the household and in some cases counted earned and unearned income separately.

Health Insurance Marketplace: Open Enrollment Begins October 1, 2013

Starting in less than two months health care consumers will be able to apply for health coverage through a new system created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You may know it by another name, Obamacare. Under the new law you can apply for or buy health insurance through a health insurance exchange. These “marketplaces” are they are sometimes called have been created for individuals and families who do not receive coverage through their employer or do not qualify for Medicaid.

Enrollment in health plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts October 1, 2013. Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014.

If you are a consumer ready to learn about and buy health insurance through the Marketplace, visit HealthCare.gov , the official consumer site for the Marketplace.

If you are a professional learning about the Marketplace or helping people apply, get the latest resources at the Marketplace at http://marketplace.cms.gov/index.html.

You can learn more by visiting Health Insurance Marketplace’s Facebook
page. Be sure to “Like” them.

Additional information on the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act will be presented in the weeks ahead.