Since 2013, more than 800,000 Ohioans have obtained insurance coverage through the health law — many for the first time. During open enrollment, which lasts until January 31, 2016, you can enroll in a new plan or change your coverage on the health exchange. Ohioans who want coverage beginning on January 1, 2016 must enroll in a plan by December 15, 2015.
It is clear that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working. Because of the health law:
• Insurance companies can no longer increase your premiums without justification, and they can no longer deny coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, or place annual or lifetime caps on your coverage;
• You’re entitled to free preventive care in the form of cancer screenings, vaccines, annual check-ups, well-woman visits, and some prescription drugs;
• More than 97,000 young Ohioans are able to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday — giving them the chance to focus on their careers, education, or future plans;
• All Americans have access to insurance coverage for lifesaving clinical trials.
To improve the consumer shopping experience, healthcare.gov will provide new features and resources for 2016 open enrollment. A new Out-of-Pocket-Cost tool will help you better estimate the true costs of your health insurance. In addition, new information has been added to healthcare.gov so that you can easily lookup doctors and prescription drugs covered under a plan while you are comparing your coverage options.
Last year, 84 percent of Ohioans who purchased health insurance through the marketplace received an average of $244 in tax credits to help them pay for the cost of insurance. In fact, 41 percent of Ohioans were able to obtain coverage for less than $100 a month.
You can get covered by visiting www.healthcare.gov. Running through January 31, 2016, you can sign up for health insurance coverage through a variety of ways:
• Online – Visit Healthcare.gov to apply and enroll through the internet.
• Over the Phone – Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 with questions or to enroll over the phone.
• In-Person – Visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to get a list of people in your community who are trained and certified to help you enroll in person.
• Paper Application – Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 or download a paper application from Healthcare.gov to fill out and send in.
Even if you were one of the 234,341 Ohioans who signed up for health insurance through the Healthcare.gov exchange for 2015 coverage, you still can visit the exchange to update your information and review your options. Unless you renew your current health plan or choose a new health plan through the exchange, you may be automatically re-enrolled into the same plan. Returning to the marketplace to review your options could save you hundreds of dollars.
Nearly 10 million Americans are now healthier and better protected because they signed up for insurance through last year’s marketplace. However, many uninsured Ohioans have failed to sign up for health insurance coverage under the health law. Health insurance coverage protects individuals and families against unexpected and costly health care costs. Protect your health and your financial security by signing up today.
Senator Sherrod Brown can be reached at Senator_Brown@Brown.Senate.Gov.