Earlier this month, the federal government’s healthcare reform website was updated to reflect the progress that has been made at the state level. Healthcare exchanges have been rebranded as “Health Insurance Marketplaces”, and there are now resources available to compare the eighteen states’ plans that were granted conditional approval for a state-run marketplace.
As we blogged about last year, Governor Walker has deferred to a federally-run insurance program. However, individuals and families can still utilize the updated website to prepare if they would like to purchase insurance through the WI Marketplace later this year. Nationwide, all marketplaces are set to begin accepting enrollments in October 2013, and will start coverage next January.
Some preparations include:
- Become aware about your different health insurance options.
- Brainstorm questions regarding your health plan.
- Be sure to understand how insurance works (out-of-pocket maximums, deductibles, etc.)
- Gather information about your personal or household income.
- Set your needs and budget.
- Know whether your employer is planning to offer insurance (especially if they are a small business, the ACA may make it easier to extend coverage)
- Explore current options already available from the ACA, such as BadgerCare and Medicare.
Lastly, if you are planning on keeping the insurance you currently have, we would recommend examining your plan and comparing it to those offered under the Marketplace once it is up and running. There are provisions in the law that help strengthen employer-sponsored coverage – like prohibiting denials of coverage and charging more for pre-existing conditions, removing annual and lifetime limits on care, and ensuring that preventive services are available without co-pays. Individuals and small-businesses may also find it more cost-effective to buy coverage through the health insurance marketplace. Be sure to be an informed consumer – and know your options and rights!