Healthcare.gov is now open for business! Until December 15th, consumers can enroll in comprehensive health plans that will start on January 1st 2019. High-quality coverage purchased through healthcare.gov (or a state’s marketplace) includes protections for preexisting conditions and a robust set of essential health benefits like preventive services, prescription drugs, mental health care, and hospital coverage. Enrollment assistance is also available through unbiased Navigators and assisters to anyone looking to enroll through the healthcare.gov or state-based marketplaces.
The great news for consumers is that for many plans, prices have dropped since last year. And this year there are even more insurance companies and insurance plans available on the marketplaces. Therefore it is important for consumers to shop around for the best plan that fits their needs. Financial assistance is also available to help people afford coverage and care based on their income, and most people who shop on the marketplace qualify for financial help.
This year we are warning consumers to watch out for plans outside of the healthcare.gov and state-based marketplaces that do not offer consumer protections and essential health benefits. Short-term plans and other arrangements that do not cover people with preexisting conditions and that do not cover all of the essential benefits are being marketed aggressively online, by telemarketers, and by some health insurance brokers. To ensure consumers are getting real, comprehensive coverage, we recommend visiting healthcare.gov to enroll. Navigators are also available for local, unbiased help.
Listed below are a variety of resources from trusted sources to help consumers with marketplace enrollment, as well as to assist those who want to promote open enrollment and assist consumers in obtaining coverage.
Direct Assistance for Consumers
- Healthcare.gov: Individuals looking to enroll through the marketplace should visit healthcare.gov. In states that run their own marketplace, healthcare.gov will direct consumers to the appropriate website.
- Healthcare.gov Call Center: Enrollment via phone and more information is also available through the healthcare.gov call center, toll-free at 1-800-318-2596.
- Healthcare.gov Blog: Healthcare.gov maintains a blog that provides enrollment information to consumers. Here are several posts that may come in handy:
- Kaiser Health News Open Enrollment FAQ: If you have any lingering questions about how to enroll through the marketplace, this invaluable collection of resources from the Kaiser Family Foundation will probably answer them. Similar resources in Spanish are also provided.
- “Time to Check your Health Insurance”: This pamphlet, published by The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, provides useful background information on the core mechanics of the ACA marketplace. If you’re completely unfamiliar with the marketplace, this is a great place to start. It also provides specialized information for people with disabilities.
- Buying Children’s Dental Coverage Through the Health Insurance Marketplace: This guide was developed by Families USA and the Children’s Dental Health Project to help families understand the stand-alone pediatric dental policies available to them.
Resources for People Helping Consumers with Marketplace Coverage
- From Young Invincibles
- From Community Catalyst
- This outreach hub from Community Catalyst compiles a variety of useful, unbranded material in one place — such as social media graphics, one-pagers, fact sheets, videos and other materials to use in spreading the word about enrollment.
- From Get America Covered
- This open enrollment toolkit provides tried and true outreach strategies for both media and community engagement. Principally, these strategies are designed to funnel traffic towards healthcare.gov and raise awareness of the resources provided by assisters, navigators, brokers, and community enrollment events.
- A collection of Get America Covered’s open enrollment-oriented social media graphics.
- From Out2Enroll
- A toolkit that includes hashtags, key dates, and messaging, printable materials, social media shareable materials, and sample social media. The toolkit is focused on helping people in the LGBTQ community, as well as others, understand their enrollment options.
- A week-by-week content calendar that provides images and suggests language for each week of Open Enrollment.
- A Google Drive folder that acts as a one-stop-shop for open enrollment graphics.
Resources for Alerting Consumers about Non-ACA Compliant Plans
- From Families USA
- Association and Short-Term Health Plans: A Lose-Lose Proposition is a factsheet that outlines how ACA non-compliant association and short-term health plans can leave consumers without coverage for the care they need.
- From Young Invincibles
- Comparison graphics that show the contrast between the real, comprehensive coverage offered through the marketplaces and the substandard coverage offered through non-ACA compliant plans that consumers may hear about online, through advertising, through telemarketers, or even through brokers.