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Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Health Coverage Application Forms Will Help Consumers Sign Up for Coverage

Sarah Bagge

Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services released three new application forms that consumers will be able to use to sign up for coverage beginning on October 1. These consumer-friendly applications ask for all the information needed to see if an individual or family will qualify for free coverage from Medicaid or CHIP, or if they qualify to buy a plan in the new health insurance marketplace, and if so, whether they will get premium tax credits to help pay for this coverage. These three forms are tailored to meet the needs of different types of applicants:

  • Single adults who don’t have any dependents and can’t get coverage through a job can use the short form.
  • Couples, families, and those who can get health coverage through a job can use the family application.
  • People with incomes over 400 percent of the poverty level ($94,200 for a family of four in 2013) who do not want to apply for assistance paying for coverage can use the non-financial assistance application.

In addition to these forms, the Department of Health and Human Services is developing an online application that will make applying for coverage even easier. The online application will be dynamic, meaning it will learn from the questions an applicant has already answered and ask her only the questions that apply to her situation. For example, if it appears that an applicant will be eligible for free coverage in Medicaid, the application will not ask questions about health coverage available through the applicant’s job, since this information is only needed to determine eligibility for marketplace coverage. This means that most people applying online will have to answer less than a third of the possible questions!

These three new forms, along with the online application and counselors who are trained to help with the application process, will enable millions of Americans to sign up for affordable, high-quality health coverage for 2014.