Congressman Ted Deutch is pleased to announce that the Health Insurance Marketplace online at healthcare.gov has officially launched its second-annual open enrollment period for 2015 health plans. From November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015, consumers may review and compare their coverage options for 2015. The following information may be helpful to currently uninsured individuals as well as Floridians who enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan and are looking to stay covered.
For those of you who purchased your 2014 health insurance through healthcare.gov, your coverage will end on December 31, 2014. Though you may receive a letter from your insurance company explaining whether or not you will be automatically enrolled in the same or similar coverage for 2015, there are several important reasons that you should still come back to healthcare.gov during open enrollment:
- Your income and employment information may be out of date. Updating this information will ensure that any financial assistance you receive is calculated accurately - and help keep things simple for you during income tax season.
- Your insurance company may have made changes to your coverage. Insurers change things like hospital networks and co-payment rates all the time, but in Florida, Governor Rick Scott and the state legislature have given health insurance companies free license to raise premiums as much as they want. Log in to make sure your plan still meets your needs and your budget.
- New plans may be available that offer you a better deal. This year, more insurance companies are selling policies on the Marketplace and they are worth checking out. Even if your current plan automatically renews on January 1, 2015, you will still have until February 15, 2015 to shop for a new plan.
If you live in Florida and do not have health insurance, you may use www.HealthCare.gov to apply for health coverage for 2015. If you complete your application by December 15, 2014, your coverage will begin immediately at the start of the New Year. Open enrollment is an opportunity to compare the various health plans available to you and find out if you qualify for financial assistance. During last year's open enrollment period, over 90 percent of Florida customers were eligible for some form of financial assistance made available through the Affordable Care Act. Every plan available on www.HealthCare.Gov is required to cover certain essential benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, doctors visits, hospital stays, primary care, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I have trouble with my application, is there anyone to help me?
Live representatives with www.HealthCare.Gov are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may call 1-800-318-2596 and someone will help you enroll.
What if I have health insurance through my job?
The Marketplace is designed for people whose jobs do not provide health care benefits, or individuals who are self-employed and need to buy their own insurance. If you have job-based health insurance you like, you can keep it. You're considered to have what the Affordable Care Act qualifies as minimum essential coverage. You don't need to change to a Marketplace plan in order to avoid the individual mandate penalty.
Where can I get advice about my health care options?
Under the umbrella organization Covering Florida, throughout Florida are authorized Navigators who may help you enroll in the Marketplace. Examples of some of the organizations in Palm Beach and Broward counties are available below. For a complete list of Navigators in your community, visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov.
Palm Beach County Navigators
C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics
(561) 966-7171 (MAIN)
225 S. Congress Ave Delray Beach, FL 33445
Advanced Patient Advocacy - Bethesda Memorial
Phone: (561) 737-7733 (MAIN)
Address: 2815 S. Seacrest Blvd Boynton Beach, FL 33435
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
(561) 279-0997 (MAIN)
6205 W. Atlantic Ave., #D101 Delray Beach, FL 33445
(561) 533-9699 (MAIN)
201 N. Dixie Hwy Lake Worth, FL 33460
Cresthaven Medical Center
(561) 964-8557 (MAIN)
4320 Forest Hill Blvd West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Alliance of Mental Health & Education Counseling, LLC
(561) 907-7454 (MAIN)
801 Northpoint Parkway West Palm Beach, FL 33407
Broward County Navigators
Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc.
(954) 561-9681 (MAIN)
200 Oakwood Lane Suite 100 Hollywood, FL 33020
Broward Community & Family Health Center, Inc.
(954) 967-0028 (MAIN)
5010 Hollywood Blvd Suite 100-B Hollywood, FL 33021
Broward Health - Annie Weaver Health Center
(954) 355-4889 (MAIN)
2011 Nw 3 Avenue Pompano Beach, FL 33060
Advanced Plus Health and Services Center
(954) 739-3885 (MAIN)
3601 West Commercial Blvd., Suite 26 North Lauderdale, FL 33309
(954) 206-4250 (MAIN)
6331 N. Andrews Ave Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
(954) 772-2411 (MAIN)
6405 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 205 Fort Lauderdale, FL
What if I have Medicare or Medicaid?
If you receive coverage through Medicare or Medicaid, you do not need to apply for health insurance through the Marketplace. If you have Medicare, you can visit this page to learn about the many ways the Affordable Care Act is improving the program and keeping seniors' costs low. If you have Medicaid, you may have heard that the Affordable Care Act improves this low-cost health care program. It is true that the health care reform law provides states with incentives to expand Medicaid eligibility and improve benefits. Unfortunately, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida state legislature have refused to embrace Medicaid expansion - jeopardizing the ability of many low-wage workers in Florida to receive care through Medicaid. Congressman Deutch continues to fight for Medicaid expansion in Florida.
What makes insurance on the Marketplace better than options currently on the individual market?
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies that sell policies on the Marketplace must abide by new consumer protections for you and your family. Here are a few examples of what the Affordable Care Act does to protect consumers from insurance company abuses:
- Makes it illegal for health insurance companies to drop you from your insurance policy just because you get sick.
- Forbids insurance companies from charging you higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions or simply because you are a woman.
- Requires all plan information to be easy to understand and free of fine print - so that you know what you are buying before you buy it.
- Forbids insurance companies from using lifetime limits to avoid paying for your care.
For a full list of all the new ways the Affordable Care Act protects patients and consumers, click here.
What about if I own a small business?
The new Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
simplifies the process of buying health insurance for your small business. The advantages of using SHOP include:
- You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward employee premiums.
- You can compare health plans online on an apples-to-apples basis, which helps you make a decision that's right for your business.
- You may qualify for a small business health care tax credit worth up to 50% of your premium costs.
- You can still deduct from your taxes the rest of your premium costs not covered by the tax credit.
Call now to get your SHOP and small business questions answered by a customer service representative at 1-800-706-7893
or (TTY: 1-800-706-7915 ). The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.