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Home : Meriter–UnityPoint Health Patient & Visitor Center : Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform

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New Information

Open Enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Dec. 15, 2014. Open Enrollment is the period of time that you can pick your health insurance for the next year. If you bought insurance from the Federal marketplace (www.healthcare.gov), your health insurance company may have let you know if you can automatically be re-enrolled. If you cannot be re-enrolled, you want to change insurance, or you need to buy insurance from the marketplace for the first time, you will need to visit www.healthcare.gov and complete the application process.

To be covered on Jan. 1, 2015, you need to be enrolled by Dec. 15, 2015.

If you accept auto-enrollment:

You must update your information on your 2014 Marketplace application with information regarding income, head of household and availability of insurance at your employer.

If you are not auto-enrolling or are enrolling in a different health plan:

When you log on to your marketplace account (www.healthcare.gov), it should be pre-filled with more of the information you provided in 2014. You should update the application with changes in income, health of household and if health insurance is available through your employer. When you finish, you will get your new eligibility than you can pick any plan available to you and complete your application.

Important:

You must finish your 2015 application and enroll in a plan even if it is the one you have now.

Need help Enrolling in Health Insurance in Dane County?
If you need help sorting through your best health insurance options under the Health Insurance Marketplace or BadgerCare, the following FREE assistance is available.

  • United Way of Dane County has up-to-date information about where to get help to sign up for health care coverage, and help to pay your premiums (monthly costs) through Health Connect. Call 2-1-1 anytime, day or night.
  • Covering Kids & Families will be doing enrollment at community sites throughout Dane County. Call 2-1-1 for dates and locations.
  • Dane County Job Center – 1819 Aberg Avenue, Madison
  • Certified Application Counselors from Access Community Health Centers are at the Job Center every Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Walk-in.
  • Meriter Hospital – 202 S. Park Street, Madison
  • Certified Application Counselors are available by appointment only. Call (608) 417-5015
  • Independent insurance agents and brokers
  • Call 2-1-1 for the names of agents and brokers in your area who work with all of the health insurance companies that are selling plans through the Marketplace, as well as BadgerCare. They can answer questions and help you sign up, at no cost to you.

Important dates for 2015 health care coverage

  • Sign up between Nov. 15, 2014 and Feb. 15, 2015
  • Sign up before Dec. 15, 2014 for coverage to start on Jan. 1, 2015
  • You can only sign up after Feb. 15, 2015 in special cases

What is Health Care Reform?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Health Care Reform and Obamacare, is a law passed in 2010 to give everyone better access to affordable health care and low-cost insurance. It includes major changes in how health care is provided and what insurance covers.
 
There are almost 100 provisions in the Health Reform law. You may have already noticed many of them when you visited your doctor for preventive care and didn’t have to pay a co-pay.  Here are a few other big changes that have already happened.
 
1. Lifetime Cap. There is no longer a lifetime cap on how much an insurance company will pay for if you get sick, and your coverage cannot be canceled for making a mistake on your paperwork.
 
2. Insurance Company Spending. Insurance companies must spend at least 80 cent of every premium dollar on your health care or improvement to care. Those who do not must issue rebates to members. Insurance companies who want to raise premiums by 10 percent or more must justify the change and receive approval.
 
3. Young Adult Coverage. Young adults can stay on their parents health insurance until age 26, even if they are not in school, not living with their parents or not financially dependent on their parents.
 
4. Pre-Existing Conditions. Insurance coverage cannot be denied to anyone because of a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes. Also, women cannot be charged more than men. 
 
5. Donut Hole Coverage. Seniors in the ‘donut hole’ of prescription drug coverage receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D.
 
6. Preventive Services. Preventive services must be covered without copay or deductible. See a full list here.