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Refresher on the Affordable Care Act

Hello All! I am the newest Health Care Reform intern and am so excited to be working with the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health! Over the first couple weeks on the job I have come to realize that there is so much information revolving the Affordable Care Act and there really isn’t a “one-stop-shop” that tells you all you need to know. So, for my first blog, I want to do a refresher on what the Affordable Care Act is, how it affects you, and where you can go to find more info.

WHAT IS THE ACA? First of all, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was signed in to affect in 2010. This act affects women in Wisconsin in a variety of ways – just a few include:
• Preventative healthcare will be covered by insurance without copays (pap-smears, mammograms, etc.)
• Insurance companies can no longer deny people based on pre-existing conditions
• Insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate based upon gender.

This healthcare plan helps to ensure all people have access to insurance whether it is through their employers or through the insurance Marketplace. Check out Affordable Care Act 101 and Exchange 101 on this link to learn more about the ACA and the exchange marketplace.

ENROLLING IN HEALTH CARE COVERAGE Secondly, there are 30 days until the next enrollment session in the Health Insurance Marketplace! For those who are still uninsured, you will be able to purchase and enroll in an insurance plan from November 15th until February 15th. For those who purchased a plan within the Marketplace last year, you can re-enroll into a different plan from November 15th until December 15th. If you do not want to switch plans, you will automatically be re-enrolled in your current coverage. The penalty for uninsured people will be going up this upcoming year (2015) to $325 or 2% of your taxable income, whichever is higher (there are a variety of people who are exempted from this, learn more here).

The Obama administration says that they have made vast improvements to the enrollment site since the last enrollment, but the site will still not be perfect (don’t feel scared to try again if you were unable to enroll last year). There are many resources you can contact to help you figure out how to enroll and which plan is best for you. Healthcare.gov provides good resource that is available 24/7 at 1-800-318-2596. Visit this link to browse through the resources available and figure out your plan for the next enrollment period!

HISTORY OF THE ACA IN WISCONSIN Governor Walker had a choice in creating a state-based, Wisconsin run marketplace, but decided to have our marketplace be federally facilitated. He also decided to not expand Medicaid. How does this affect the people of Wisconsin? This choice resulted in a loss of federal funding and left many people uninsured because they did not have the same amount of funding through the marketplace as they did through BadgerCare. BadgerCare was altered to incorporate more uninsured people below the 100% FPL, but this shift caused parents to be forced to go to the marketplace, while their kids were still covered by BadgerCare, this shift, and the inability of these parents to pay the copayments and deductibles set up by the marketplace, is known as the Family Gap. Learn more about the Family Gap at this link. This issue is a result of not expanding Medicaid. So, for this next enrollment period, the Family Gap still persists and will persist until Medicaid is expanded. You can check and see how much a plan would cost you at here.

Here are some good links to take a look at to learn more:

FAQs about Health Care Reform in Wisconsin:
http://oci.wi.gov/healthcare_ref/healthcarereform_consumerfaq.pdf
Health Reform video:

Marketplace Video:

Health Care Law info:
http://www.nwlc.org/our-issues/health-care-%2526-reproductive-rights/health-care-law
Health Reform Implementation:
http://kff.org/interactive/implementation-timeline/

So, as I said, there is a TON of information revolving the Affordable Care Act! But I’m excited to dig in and learn more. Stay tuned!

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Enrollment ClosesFebruary 15th, 2015
Plenty of time to Get Covered
Learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace & your new coverage options.

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