Help us spread the word: Dec. 15 is the deadline for Open Enrollment in Marketplace Coverage

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December 3, 2018

Help us spread the word: Dec. 15 is the deadline for Open Enrollment in Marketplace Coverage.

Dec. 15 is the deadline for signing up for comprehensive health plans that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. The Trump Administration, never a fan of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has cut the time available to enroll, and has slashed funding for outreach and advertising to let people know about Open Enrollment. So it is incumbent upon all of us to make sure people know about the Dec. 15 deadline.

Even if you already have coverage and won’t be shopping on the marketplace, there are things you can do to help spread the word. Here are some resources to help you out, some information on events happening this week, and some additional information about Open Enrollment and the ACA that everyone needs to know.

Families USA has prepared an Open Enrollment resource clearinghouse blog. It includes resources for consumers and resources for organizations working to spread the word about enrollment. The clearinghouse includes  resources directly from HealthCare.gov as well as from Young Invincibles, Community Catalyst, Get America Covered, Kaiser Family Foundation, Out2Enroll and more partners.

Here is a sample tweet to spread the news about their blogpost: Want to #GetCovered but not sure where to start? Check out this blog post from @FamiliesUSA, featuring resources to easily help you find affordable health coverage: bit.ly/2Q0fmHv 

On Monday (Dec. 3) a twitter chat was held on LGBTQ health with Young Invincibles. You can see the results by following #MilleniumMon.

And this week is LGBTQ Enrollment Week of Action. Here is the LGBTQ Enrollment Week of Action toolkit (alongside shareable graphics for the week) from Out2Enroll.

Finally: this Wednesday, Dec. 5, there will be a twitter chat sponsored by MomsRising at 3 p.m. ET. Use the hashtag #WellnessWed

The health plans we’re talking about  – purchased through healthcare.gov (or a state’s marketplace) – include protections for preexisting conditions and a robust set of essential benefits such as preventive care, prescription drugs, mental health care and hospital coverage.

Families USA has some good news for consumers this year – and a note of warning:

The good news for consumers is that for many plans, prices have dropped since last year. And this year there are even more insurance companies and insurance plans available on the marketplaces. Therefore it is important for consumers to shop around for the best plan that fits their needs. Financial assistance is also available to help people afford coverage and care based on their income, and most people who shop on the marketplace qualify for financial help.

This year we are warning consumers to watch out for plans outside of the healthcare.gov and state-based marketplaces that do not offer consumer protections and essential health benefits. Short-term plans and other arrangements that do not cover people with preexisting conditions and that do not cover all of the essential benefits are being marketed aggressively online, by telemarketers, and by some health insurance brokers. To ensure consumers are getting real, comprehensive coverage, we recommend visiting healthcare.org to enroll. Navigators are also available for local, unbiased help.

Young Invincibles has compiled a helpful list of five things you should know about Open Enrollment:

  1. When: November 1, 2018 – December 15, 2018 (some states may extend their deadlines, but in order to have coverage that begins January 1, you must enroll by December 15)
  2. Where: HealthCare.Gov Always start with HealthCare.Gov. If your state uses their own website, HealthCare.Gov will guide you there. HealthCare.Gov or your state-based marketplace can only sell ACA plans, so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting a comprehensive plan that will be there for you when you need it.
  3. What: Comprehensive coverage at an affordable price. HealthCare.Gov plans must include key benefits like mental health care, maternity care, prescription drug coverage and hospitalization services. In addition to good coverage, most marketplace shoppers will qualify for a discount based on their income. Last year, more than 8 in 10 shoppers could get a plan for less than $100/month.
  4. Why: Peace of mind. Financial security. Access to comprehensive care. There are so many reasons to sign up for affordable, comprehensive coverage, join the millions who have gained health insurance thanks to the ACA!
  5. How: Enroll online, over the phone, or in-person. Log on to the official ACA marketplace at HealthCare.Gov, or CuidadodeSalud.Gov, call the marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596, or make an appointment for in-person through the Get Covered Connector.

Young Invincibles also quite helpfully has prepared a list of myths surrounding the Affordable Care Act – and information you need to know to dispel these myths. They note that there is a lot of confusion among both the remaining uninsured and current marketplace consumers about what exactly has changed, what hasn’t, and what are the best options for enrolling in coverage:

Myth #1: Financial help to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs is no longer available.  FALSE. Financial assistance is still available for low and middle-income consumers to help lower the cost of their plan. In fact, more than 8 out of 10 consumers last year qualified for a tax credit.

Myth #2: The marketplace is not stable and premiums are skyrocketing. FALSE. In fact, premium price increases for 2019 are expected to be much lower than previous years, and some states will even see price decreases. CMS recently announced a national average drop of 1.5 percent in premiums across states using HealthCare.Gov.

Myth #3: I am no longer protected from discrimination for having a pre-existing condition. FALSE. All of the consumer protections created by the ACA are still intact, and all plans sold by HealthCare.Gov must provide comprehensive coverage, and cannot charge a consumer more because of their health status or medical history. Plans outside the ACA marketplace don’t have to offer the same protections, so always make sure to use HealthCare.Gov when enrolling in coverage.

Myth #4: Insurers are dropping out. FALSE. In fact, the highest number of insurers are participating this year since 2015. There will be 23 more insurers participating in HealthCare.Gov states, and 29 insurers are expanding their coverage to additional counties in 2019 compared to 2018. Overall 58 percent of enrollees in all 39 states using HealthCare.Gov will have three or more insurers to choose from. That means more choices and competitive prices for consumers.

As we approach the Saturday, Dec. 15 deadline for Open Enrollment, there will be other opportunities for outreach to let as many people as possible learn how they can sign up for quality, affordable health care. Be sure to follow CHN’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for more information and opportunities to spread the word!



Categories: Affordable Care Act, Health Care Reform, Medicaid

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