Saturday, September 21, 2013

How to Access Health Insurance and Services

Millions of Americans lack quality, affordable health care coverage, which is essential for healthy individuals, families and communities. Faith and community-based organizations often provide the link between those who are most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach and the health services they need. Below are resources for health insurance, health benefits and services for those in need in your congregation and community.

Enroll in Health Insurance:  is the website to use to find out how to enroll in health insurance and compare prices, quality and coverage of health insurance plans. The website is also available in Spanish at

Learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace by clicking on the “Learn” button and watch videos on the Marketplace. Starting October 1, call 1-800-318-2596 if you have questions or click on the “local help” tab to find someone you can talk to in person.

Key Dates
October 1, 2013 Enrollment begins.
December 15, 2013 Last day to complete the application process and have insurance coverage that begins on January 1, 2014
March 31, 2014 Open enrollment ends.
October 2014 Open enrollment opens

Resources on the Health Care Law: The website provides the most up-to-date resources and information on the Affordable Care Act. Here you will be able to find official resources, such as presentations, fact sheets, widgets and badges, multimedia resources, talking points and other tools that you can share with your congregation and community to educate and help with enrollment. You can also sign up to receive the latest news about the Marketplace by e-mail.

Learn about Health Insurance in your State by going to:

Questions on the Health Care Law: Call 1-800-318-2596, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Operators speak English and Spanish and there are operators available who speak 150 languages. The telephone number for people with disabilities is TTY: 1-855-889-4325. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) also has a toll-free telephone number available Monday - Friday, 9 am to 5 pm ET: 1-800-706-7893 (TTY users: 1-800-706-7915).

A web chat function is also available on and

In-Person Assistance with the Health Care Law: In-Person Assisters called Navigators and Certified
Application Counselors are available to help consumers to enroll in health insurance and to answer questions.   In-Person Assisters will be listed at and .

Basic Information on the Health Care Law is available at the U.S. Health and Human Services Health Care Website: . The website provides news releases, fact sheets, blog posts, info-graphics, tweets and FAQs about the health care law. This website also provides more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace and prevention and wellness.

Information about the Medicare program is available at the Medicare website:
People who are over age 65 and certain people with disabilities should go to this website to enroll in the
Medicare program.

Information about the Medicaid program: People who have low incomes should go to or their state’s Medicaid agency to find out if they may be eligible.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid: provides information on how children and teens may qualify for no-cost or low-cost health insurance coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. To learn about health coverage for children and teens in your state, call 1-877-Kids-Now (1-877-543-7669) or go to the website above.

CHIP services usually cover doctor visits, prescription drugs, emergency care, hospital care, vaccinations, vision, hearing and dental care. In general, children in families with incomes up to $44,100/year (for a family of four) are likely to be eligible for coverage. In many states, families can have higher incomes and their children can still qualify.

Community Health Centers: provides a list and map for local community health centers that receive federal funds. Community health centers provide health care on a
sliding scale for people with no or low incomes and are a resource for people with insurance as well. Services at community health centers include primary, oral and mental health care, as well as nutrition and healthy living services.

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services:, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s health care website, provides information about mental health and substance abuse services in your community. Mental health and substance abuse care is an important component of the Affordable Care Act. Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including counseling and psychotherapy, are included in the Essential Health Benefits package that all health insurance plans must cover in 2014..

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