Hey blog readers! It's Heather Heppner with the AARP Illinois Communications Team back again with your Tuesday health care law post. With October 1st behind us, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with more detailed information about Get Covered Illinois - Illinois' Health Insurance Marketplace.
Get Covered Illinois, the official name of the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, launched on October 1st, 2013. It is anticipated that at least 300,000 people will enroll in health care coverage through Get Covered Illinois between Oct 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Illinois consumers can now visit Get Covered Illinois to compare health insurance plans and select a plan that fits their needs. If you enroll in a plan before December 15, 2013, your coverage will be effective beginning January 1, 2014. Keep in mind that the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace (i.e. Get Covered Illinois) is ONLY for people who do not have health care coverage through their employer or another government source, such as Medicare or Medicaid. If you are on Medicare, you will continue to receive traditional Medicare, as well as your supplement and Part D plan coverage, the same way you always have. You do NOT need to shop for any kind of Medicare coverage in the Marketplace.
Eight insurers in Illinois are offering 165 health plan options in the Illinois Marketplace and the plans are categorized as bronze (lowest cost), silver, gold or platinum (highest cost). Ninety-five percent of Illinois residents will have access to at least 34 plans in the Marketplace. All plans within the Marketplace, regardless of cost, must provide coverage for what are called "essential" health benefits. These include: (1) ambulatory patient services, (2) hospitalization, (3) emergency services, (4) maternity and newborn care, (5) prescription drugs, (6) mental health/substance use disorder services, (7) rehabilitative services & devices, (8) laboratory services, (9) preventative and wellness services & chronic disease management, and (10) pediatric services, including oral and vision care. Still have questions? Check our our Slideshare Presentation on navigating the new law.
The rates for plans in the Illinois Marketplace vary widely, but individuals and families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level may receive subsidies if they obtain health care coverage through the marketplace. Overall, the health plan rates are approximately 25% lower than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated.
Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, scam artists are already trying to take advantage of people who are confused by the health care law and the new health insurance marketplaces. Illinois consumers should beware of scams that include phone solicitations or door-to-door salespeople who promise to sign you up for health care coverage through the Marketplace or pay premiums on your behalf if you provide them cash or a credit card number. Illinois consumers can call 1-866-311-1119 to report any suspicious activities.
Not sure about the new health care law or what it means to you? Check out Health Law Answers to find out how the new health care law works for you and your family.
Until next week.....be healthy!