Congressman Ted Deutch is committed to making the Affordable Care Act, also known as "ObamaCare" work for the people of Florida. If you live in Florida and do not have health insurance, you will use www.HealthCare.gov to apply for coverage available through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. You can apply as early as October 1, 2013, and the coverage you select will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Curious what the Marketplace means for you? See frequently asked questions below.
The Marketplace at www.HealthCare.Gov is a new way to shop for health insurance in Florida. Workers whose employers do not provide health benefits, uninsured families, self-employed individuals, and people with pre-existing conditions who have had trouble finding affordable coverage will be able to use this new, online portal to comparison shop and choose a health plan. On the Marketplace, insurance companies cannot charge you higher premiums based on your medical history or your gender. 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. Watch the video on the right side of this page for a quick explanation of how the Marketplace works.
How do I shop for insurance on the Marketplace?
The first step is to create an account on www.HealthCare.Gov. Beginning on October 1, 2013, you will be able to compare the plans available to you and also find out if you are eligible for tax credits that will help you afford monthly premiums.
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 shop for coverage on the private market. 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 fee that uninsured people may have to pay for 2014.
Where can I get personal advice about my health care options?
There are local community groups in South Florida that have received federal funding to give confidential, free advice to individuals who have questions about their options. Application assistance is available from some of the most well-respected and trusted organizations in our South Florida community:
The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
(800) 403-9353 ext. 366
Planned Parenthood of South Florida
Health Care District of PBC
Sickle Cell Foundation
Broward County Community Health Centers
Health Council of Southeast Florida
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 Marketplace does:
- 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. For 2014, the SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-eqivalent employees (FTEs). 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. Beginning 2014 the tax credit is available only for plans purchased through SHOP.
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.