Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace
As you probably already know, the Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov) helps people who are uninsured find and purchase health insurance. Open enrollment for coverage in 2016 from the Health Insurance Market Place ends on January 31. As cancer survivors, it is important to always maintain health insurance. Even after treatment ends, check-ups and scans can be very, very expensive. Thankfully, insurance companies can no longer disqualify individuals for pre-existing conditions, like a cancer diagnosis. Here are some things you should know about applying for health insurance through the Marketplace:
- After open enrollment ends on January 31, you will only be able to get health insurance through the Marketplace if you qualify for a special enrollment period. Qualifying events include: getting married, having or adopting a child, moving to a new state, or losing health insurance.
- Policies and prices available through the Marketplace depend on where you live, so make sure to check the Marketplace directly.
- You may be eligible for savings on health insurance through a premium tax credit based on your income and household size. Learn more here.
- If you receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits, you will not be able to sign up for health insurance on the Marketplace. If you are eligible for health insurance through your job, you can still buy insurance on the Marketplace, but you’ll pay full price.
- You can purchase a Marketplace plan online, over the phone, with in-person help, or by mail. Learn how here.
- When you are ready to apply make sure you have all the info you need readily available, such as social security number, employer and income information, etc.
- Plans on the Marketplace are divided into four categories—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. These categories are based on how you and your insurance company shares your cost of care.
- Before purchasing a plan, check to make sure all your doctors accept your specific plan.
- Know the health insurance lingo. Premium: your monthly payment to the insurance company for coverage. Deductible: the amount that you will have to pay before the insurance plan starts to pay. (Some plans pay for some services—such as preventative care—before you meet your deductible.) Co-payment: the amount you are expected to pay for a service.