Now is the time to sign up for the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. the ACA, a.k.a Obamacare, a.k.a. The Greatest Advancement for Women’s Health in a Generation) Marketplaces. On the Marketplaces, women and their families are able to find high quality, affordable health plans. The window to sign up is a lot shorter this year and after December 15, most will not be able to sign up for coverage until next year. That is a year without insurance coverage, financial help and assurance that you can access necessary and preventive care in the event of a pregnancy, medical emergency, or even a routine check up!
This year has been rough for the ACA. There have been attempts to eliminate the low-cost coverage options, scale back access to birth control, and take away funding to pay for doctor and prescription co-pays. But, despite all of the attacks, the law has persisted—thanks to the resistance of many of you.
The vast majority of people are still able to purchase plans on the Marketplace at a low cost. In fact, this year there are more low cost—and even, no cost—options than ever before. At Planned Parenthood, we see women, men, and young people every day—whether or not they have health insurance—and below are just a few of the benefits patients have found shopping on the Marketplace:
- Even among media accounts of premium increases, enrollees have been insulated from the rising costs. For instance, enrollees eligible for financial assistance on average saw only a $1 per month premium increase at the close of open enrollment in 2017. The majority of consumers are able to purchase a plan on the Marketplace for under $75 a month.
- More than 62 million women now have access to no cost preventive services, including birth control, well-woman visits, and life-saving preventive services such as breast cancer screenings and Pap tests. There have been efforts to undermine birth control access, but women will be able to find plans on the Marketplace that cover the contraceptive methods of their choice.
- Marketplace plans have to cover baseline care, such as pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, emergency care, mental health services, and pediatric care—none of which were guaranteed before the ACA.
- While shopping on the Marketplace, consumers may even discover that they are eligible for free coverage under the Medicaid program. Medicaid covers robust benefits, including a range of family planning services and supplies.
Since November 1, enrollment is up 179 percent because people are seeing the benefits found through plans purchased on the Marketplace. Now that you know the benefits of Marketplaces plans, here, is what to do:
- Visit Healthcare.gov before December 15 to find the plan that covers your doctor and covers the medical care you need.
- Even if you were enrolled in coverage last year, visit Healthcare.gov to see if your current plan is still the best option for you. After December 15, you may be automatically enrolled in a plan that is no longer affordable or no longer meets your needs.
- If you do not qualify for financial help on the Marketplace or Medicaid, you should still visit your state’s Medicaid agency to see if you qualify for a limited benefit plan, such as family planning only coverage.
- You don’t have to figure it out alone – you can get free, in-person help signing up and picking a plan. To get started, check out https://www.plannedparenthood.org.
- No one plans to get sick, so even if you think you don’t need insurance coverage, get insurance coverage. Not only could you face a penalty if you don’t, but you could also end up without the care you need, when you need it.