Do you want to help spread the word about the March 31st deadline enrollment? Below are resources, images, in Spanish and English, and sample tweets you can share with your networks. With only a few weeks left before the enrollment deadline, all hands on deck are needed to help connect Texans with their new health care options, and your help is appreciated and necessary. Thank you!
A list of helpful tools consumers can use to help guide them through the process of enrolling in coverage:
- Enroll America has a Get Covered Calculator, which is free, easy to use, and provides realistic cost estimates for new coverage. If you’d prefer free, in-person application assistance, you can use the Get Covered Locator tool to find enrollment sites within 25 miles of your zip code.
- On our website, we have a guide with helpful tips on how to protect yourself from health insurance scammers and identity thieves. Most people will not encounter any fraudulent activity, but it’s is important to be informed of the risk and of ways you can protect yourself.
- A new resource, Financial Help for Health, features stories of people who have enrolled through the Marketplace and are saving hundreds of dollars on their monthly insurance premiums through tax credits. The website has a tool that explains the tax credit and how to use it.
- Visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 for help with the enrollment process.
Sample Tweets (Copy and paste tweets as they are, or feel free to modify them however you’d like.)
You may be eligible to receive financial assistance to pay for health coverage! Find out here: www.healthcare.gov #LetsEnrollTX
The enrollment deadline is March 31st. Connect with affordable health care options here: www.healthcare.gov #LetsEnrollTX
El 31 de Marzo es el ultimo dia para comprar un seguro medico en el nuevo Mercado. Vaya a www.cuidadodesalud.gov
Enrollment Deadline Images (Right click and save the images to your computer to share on social media and elsewhere.)
In a short month’s time, the number of Texans who have selected a healthcare insurance plan through the Marketplace has increased by 57% — from 118,532 Texans in January to 207,546 enrolled in February, according to a new study released this month by the Department of Health & Human Services.
This increase in enrollment was accompanied by a notable increase in the proportion of young adults (ages 18-34) who have selected a Marketplace plan. The percentage rose from 24% to 27% over the last month. Along with the age group of ages 55-64, young adults now have the highest percentage of Marketplace enrollees. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, this growth has been consistent with expectations.
Other notable characteristics of Texans who have selected a Marketplace plan included:
- 56% Female
- 44% Male
- Plan Selections
- 62% Silver
- 21% Bronze
- 11% Gold
- 4% Platinum
- 1% Catastrophic
- Young adults (18-34) were the largest age group selecting this plan
- Financial Assistance (subsidies)
- 51% of Texans eligible to use Marketplace are also eligible for financial assistance
- 79% of Marketplace-enrolled Texans received financial assistance
- Increase from 74% in January
- 21% purchased plans without any assistance
- Medicaid/CHIP eligibility
- 80,368 determined eligible by Marketplace
Despite increases in Texans receiving healthcare, these 207,546 Texans who have selected a health plan through Marketplace are only 35% of the 586,342 Texans who applied and were found eligible to enroll. We can only conclude there is still work to be done, much of which will begin with educating Texans about the options available to them with the Marketplace.
Fortunately, Texans have mobilized across the state, advocating for healthcare expansion and educating the public about options currently available to them. Organizers like Enroll America and partners of the Texas Well and Healthy campaign have made it their mission to help Texans find coverage and to answer questions about finding local Marketplace navigation assistance. With the number of Texans selecting Marketplace health plans increasing exponentially each month, we are optimistic that the number of insured Texans will continue to grow.
Marketplace open enrollment for 2014 is nearing its end on March 31, 2014, but passionate Texans will continue to push for education and awareness of the opportunities available through the Marketplace. When Marketplace enrollment opens again on Nov. 15, 2014, even more Texans will be ready to select a Marketplace health plan for their families.
Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the country. With more than 4 million uninsured Texans eligible for health coverage through the health insurance marketplace—and the fact that most of them can get help paying for coverage, due the financial assistance that’s here (which many, unfortunately still don’t know about it)—we’ve got a big job to do in Texas.
March 31st is the last day to enroll in coverage, and it’s coming up fast. So many people can get health coverage, but still so many still have no idea that this is an option for them. Roughly 120,000 Texans enrolled by the end of last year, and 3 out of 4 of them got help paying for coverage.
March 1st will kick off 31 days of a flurry of outreach. Be part of the historic opportunity to get Texans covered. Join these trainings and you will develop your skills in outreach, learn how to talk to consumers about their options, and help make history by changing the lives of uninsured Texans.
February 22nd is Get Covered Training Day. Join us at one of the trainings below. Click on the link next to the event nearest you to RSVP.
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: United Way
2000 E. MLK Jr Blvd
Host: Erica Gammill
10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Dallas Library
Host: Andrew Greenberg
El Paso RSVP
Multiple shifts available
Location: Enroll America office
Host: David Alexander
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Location: Department of Health and Human Services
800 North Stadium
Host: Rosy Mota
Rio Grande Valley RSVP
10 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
UTPA Engineering Building
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539
Host: Jose Ibarra
San Antonio RSVP
10:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m
Location: Christus Santa Rosa
333 N. Santa Rosa St
Host: Edward Vargas
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Location – West Waco Library
5301 Bosque Blvd
Host: Kelly McDonald
Written by Mimi Garcia, Enroll America. Cross-posted from Get Covered America.
As the NWLC report highlights, over half a million uninsured Texas women below the poverty line–who make up a quarter of all uninsured women in Texas–fall into the Medicaid coverage gap and are left with no affordable health coverage option, while women living above the poverty line have the opportunity to shop for coverage in the Marketplace and get help paying for it.
As the report indicates, wide disparities exist between low-income women with and without health insurance, and these disparities will only continue to grow without expanded health coverage:
In Texas, low-income women are only eligible for Medicaid if they are pregnant, have children and an income below 19 percent of the poverty line, or have a disability. So, the poor women who fall into the coverage gap created by Texas’ refusal to expand Medicaid are left to rely on a patchwork of services for care, leaving their options few and far between.
In 2011, the Texas Legislature gutted the state family planning program by cutting its funding by two-thirds, sending shockwaves throughout the state–family planning clinics scaled back their hours or closed entirely, and providers had to start charging for services that were once free. At the same time, the state fought and won to keep Planned Parenthood from offering family planning and preventive care services through the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. While the state created its own Texas Women’s Health Program absent the single largest reproductive care provider, and the 2013 Texas Legislature restored most of the money lost in 2011 by directing it to primary care providers, it’s unclear if the new system will serve as many women as before the massive cuts and whether or not there are enough providers throughout the state to perform the services. Early claims reports indicate fewer women are accessing services under the state-run program, and Sen. Jane Nelson has called an interim Senate committee hearing to assess where we are.
As the NWLC report highlights, Medicaid Expansion is one the best ways states can ensure low-income women can get the health services they need–Pap smears, mammograms, cervical screenings, etc.–and lead healthier lives.
Written by Alexa Garcia-Ditta, Center for Public Policy Priorities. Cross-posted from Better Texas blog.
Editor’s note: Clayton Travis is a volunteer with Insure Central Texas, assisting Texans with enrollment in the new Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace.
Ava’s* second visit to the Foundation Communities’ Insure Central Texas enrollment site was when she started to really understand the opportunity of health coverage. Speaking only Spanish, she said she was there for her pre-scheduled appointment. The week before, Ava had come in curious about her health insurance options under Obamacare. While on that first visit she had been eager to create her own personalized account and compare plans, the early glitches on the federal Healthcare.gov site had prevented her from doing so.
This time she worked directly with the volunteer staff at Insure Central Texas who answered her questions and helped her estimate what subsidies she and her husband might receive for insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Healthcare.gov worked intermittently, but Ava remained resolved and pledged to come back once the site was fully functioning. She – like many Texans – realizes the importance of health coverage for her whole family. It took a third visit, but eventually Ava was able to get covered.
The Affordable Care Act’s rollout of the Health Insurance Marketplace was marred by early technical glitches that impeded many Texans in accessing the federally facilitated portal. However, states that had opted to set up their own programs had fewer challenges. In California and New York, states that set up state-based Marketplaces, tens of thousands of residents completed insurance applications in just the first week of operation.
Texas could have been one of these examples. Instead, Governor Perry made it clear Texas would not participate in the creation of its own Marketplace, defaulting to the federally facilitated marketplace. Ava and hundreds of thousands of uninsured Texans and millions across the nation wound up all needing to use the same federal site at once as a result. An entire country’s pent-up demand for health coverage was pretty overwhelming, but the site is working today and the open enrollment period continues through March.
What has become clear is that uninsured Texans, eager to find care, remain undeterred by these challenges. The release of this month’s Health Insurance Marketplace data shows nearly half a million Texans have applied for coverage in the ACA Marketplace – 118,532 of whom have selected a plan and will have coverage starting February 1st. 74 percent of those who selected a plan received financial assistance to lower the cost of their monthly premiums. Furthermore, 47,000 Texans who applied through the new Marketplace have been determined eligible to enroll in the state’s existing Medicaid or CHIP plans.
During this critical window of opportunity, there are a few things uninsured Texans and those offering them assistance should know:
1) The last day of open enrollment for 2014 is March 31st with coverage beginning in April. If you sign up before March 31st and in the first half of the month (1st – 15th) your coverage will begin the first day of the following month. If you enroll in the end of the month (16th – end of month) your coverage will kick in the first day of the following month.
2) The website isn’t the only way to gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Healthcare.gov call center can help, too, and wait times are low. Families can go through the entire process of creating an account, comparing plans, and enrolling in health coverage by calling Call 1-800-318-2596.
3) If you do use the website, allow time to compare and shop. Once you set up an account, identify the area you live in, and determine what type of coverage you are looking for, plans will be outlined by price. Then you can see various price reductions available, due to subsidies and varying coverage levels. Like Ava, you might opt to go to talk someone in your area to help walk you through the ins and outs of various plans in your price range and get you ready to purchase through the Marketplace.
Health insurance plans have never before been so clearly laid out in one place. Families can discover coverage options that will fit their needs and at an affordable price – safeguarding them against medical bankruptcy and providing financial stability and reassurance. Ava and countless Texas families know this peace of mind was worth the wait.
*Names have been changed.
Written by Clayton Travis, Hogg Foundation Mental Health Policy Fellow for Texans Care for Children.
This op-ed ran in the Austin American-Statesman in advance of a Congressional hearing in Dallas about implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the role of navigators, who help people enroll in health insurance.
Back in 2009 Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst made an emphatic endorsement for increasing the number of children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “If I had a magic wand, I’d get them all enrolled in the CHIP program,” he said. “Why? I think that at the end of the day, it’s the moral thing to do, and in the long run, the most economical thing to do.”
The moral and economic incentives for maximizing enrollment are there for both moderate-income children who qualify for CHIP and lower-income kids eligible for Children’s Medicaid. Both CHIP and Children’s Medicaid help children hit important developmental milestones, enter school ready to learn and get check-ups and treatment they need. Health coverage supports families, staving off bankruptcies that can come from unexpected medical expenses. Improved coverage also supports communities, reducing the number of uninsured and all the costs that typically get passed on to others, to be paid for through higher premiums and fees on health services.
We have a unique opportunity right now to make this critical asset more available to Texas children than ever before. For the first time, nearly all Texas children are eligible for coverage–whether through CHIP, Medicaid or the new Health Insurance Marketplace.
Since the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, more families have found out what’s available to them, and more are looking at their options leading up to a Dec. 23 deadline for enrolling in coverage that kicks in at the start of the new year. Most families who are purchasing coverage for their children in the new health insurance marketplace also will receive financial assistance to help pay for health insurance. As more Texans learn about their options and get their kids enrolled, our state’s uninsured child rate–the second-highest in the nation–could easily plummet.
That won’t take a magic wand, but it will take allowing the health law to work as intended. For example, our state should make sure that enrollment experts through the navigator program can do their jobs without excessive restrictions while still maintaining common sense consumer protections. Applying for health coverage is daunting, and we shouldn’t be making it harder for people to get the information they need to learn about their options and sign up.
Similarly, our state leaders should oppose red tape to health coverage for children. The Affordable Care Act eliminated some of the hoops that Texas families must jump through, and our state leaders should stop fighting the removal of these barriers within Medicaid.
We can also hold strong in areas where we have made progress. Foster youth who leave state care, without ever having been adopted, are some of the young adults most vulnerable to poor health and life outcomes. Maintaining their health coverage options as they leave care is a way of safeguarding these youth and putting them on a better trajectory. Our state administration is currently proposing eroding these benefits for some former foster children, leaving young adults who have no family support to fend for themselves.
Finally, Texas can stop standing in the way of whole family coverage. Roughly 1 in 3 adults who aren’t seniors are uninsured, and many hard-working, low-income parents have no affordable options for health insurance. As a result, researchers say, many also won’t know about the options available to their children. One of the best things our state can do to support families’ economic security and their health is accepting a way to get every family member the coverage they need. The state still has the opportunity to connect Texas families to expanded eligibility in the Medicaid program if it chooses to.
Our state’s delay in accepting this expansion has left federal funds on the table and created a coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of working parents in Texas. A recent report sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund found just how costly it will be to continue to delay coverage expansion. Through 2022, the cost to Texas taxpayers of this delay will be over $9 billion. That will result in fewer jobs created and fewer resources flowing through our local communities.
Texas is making progress, but more than a million kids in the Lone Star State remain uninsured. Meeting our state’s moral obligation and maximizing opportunity for our state’s economic future doesn’t require a magic wand. It requires the resolve to let our federal laws function as intended and continued investments in coverage approaches like CHIP and Medicaid that work.
Written by Clayton Travis, Hogg Mental Health Policy Fellow at Texans Care for Children. Cross-posted from Texans Care for Children Newsroom.
Last week, the Texas Department of Insurance released proposed rules on “navigators”—community organizations like the United Way that help uninsured people apply for health insurance. As proposed, the rules could prevent or delay the important work of navigators. Fort Worth Star Telegram editors agree, noting that the rules will impede insurance enrollment and hinder progress on reducing Texas’ worst-in-the nation uninsured rate.
But, there are many good provisions in the rules as well. They could work as intended—to increase consumer protections without hindering the vital work of trained and certified navigators—if the department modifies the proposed rules to address the key concerns listed below.
The rule could prevent a navigator from helping consumers understand and compare the benefits so that consumers can make an informed insurance choice. Explaining and comparing the features of different health plans (the premium, deductible, provider network, covered medications, etc.) is NOT the same thing as recommending a consumer buy a specific plan. Navigators need to be able to help consumers compare and understand insurance options, without recommending which plan to purchase.
The rule could shut down navigator services as of March 1, when demand will spike in the final month of open enrollment. As proposed, navigators must comply with the rule by March 1, 2014. Once the rule is final, navigators could have just a month (or less) to jump through many hoops. This timeline is too short for navigators to accomplish at least two time-consuming, bureaucratic necessities that are completely outside of navigators’ control:
1. obtaining advance federal permission to deviate from the navigator’s grant budget finalized back in August (processing takes 30-60 days), and
2. getting through TDI’s registration system (processing could take 2-3 weeks).
When you combine these steps with the other hurdles navigators have to clear to come into compliance, the full process could take three months. The rules should ensure that navigators can continue to provide their vital services while they work in good faith toward compliance.
Nonprofit navigators will have to pay excessive and unnecessary fees for the privilege of providing free application assistance to the poor and uninsured. TDI estimated some of the various costs imposed for compliance could add up to to $900 per individual navigator, on top of an additional $1,400 per navigator organization. A navigator organization that oversees 30 navigators could incur about $30,000 in costs in the first year—possibly about enough to support a full-time navigator. Every dollar diverted from enrollment assistance leaves fewer resources to serve Texas’ 6.4 million uninsured.
The 40-hour state training requirement (on top of the 20-30 hour federal training requirement already fulfilled by Texas navigators) is excessive and unjustified. TDI’s rules require 60-70 hours of total training for ACA navigators, and the agency says extra state training will cost navigators $200-$800 per person. ACA navigators will be held to a much different standard than HHSC Medicaid/CHIP navigators and other community-based enrollment assistors, who perform very similar services. For example, it takes about four hours to complete the free HHSC navigator training that prepares community groups to help people enroll in Medicaid, CHIP and other programs through the Community Partner Program. Community Medicare counselors in HICAP (also certified by TDI) receive 25 hours of free training.
The rule applies well beyond navigator grantees under the Affordable Care Act. For example, the proposed rule would require a mother helping her young adult son with an application for insurance to first complete an expensive and time-consuming registration with the state. The rule would also prevent organizations and individuals who provide basic information on health coverage programs (including the ACA, Medicaid, or CHIP) from using the term “navigator” as a job title if they do not go through the state registration process. Many health care-related organizations use the term “navigator” today (like patient navigators and cancer navigators) to describe the individuals who help patients understand and connect with health care and coverage.
We have created a flowchart to help organization and individuals determine if TDI’s proposed rules will affect them, and we plan to release additional resources related to the proposed navigator rule over the next few weeks. Make sure to check our website for these updates.
TDI is accepting public comments on the proposed rule through January 6, 2014. Written comments submitted via email must be sent to both email@example.com and NavigatorRegistration@tdi.texas.gov. Or you can provide written or oral testimony at either of the two hearings TDI is holding on these rules in Austin on December 20 and January 6.
Written by Stacey Pogue, Center for Public Policy Priorities. Cross-posted from Better Texas blog.
I am pleased to count myself among the group of new December enrollees who successfully selected and enrolled in a 2014 health insurance plan via healthcare.gov.
I am a 26-year old female who has been covered in recent years by either my parents’ policy or my student health insurance policy. When I turned 26 and decided to take a small break from my graduate program, I learned that I was no longer eligible for my parents’ policy or student coverage and that I would need a new individual health insurance plan for 2014.
As a young adult who doesn’t get job-based coverage and makes a limited income, I was excited to shop in the new Health Insurance Marketplace and learn about opportunities to make my coverage more affordable. I was also excited about the new ACA standards which would guarantee coverage for essential health benefits, free preventive care, and more robust out-of-pocket maximums. Lastly, but not by any means least, I was looking forward to a more streamlined application process that would no longer require me to supply years’ worth of detailed medical history to my prospective insurer, a time-consuming and burdensome process even for a healthy 26-year old like me.
I created my healthcare.gov account and began my application in mid-October. Initial steps included providing and confirming my e-mail address and verifying my identity via a series of security questions – a process that went very smoothly once I was able to gain that initial access to the site. The application itself consisted of a series of prompts and questions regarding my contact information, whether I wanted to apply for subsidies, my household and family characteristics, and my income, for example.
I submitted my final application in early November, and received an immediate real-time subsidy determination. Based on my estimated 2014 income, I was told that I would receive a premium subsidy of $96 a month, with access to silver-level cost-sharing reduction plans that would reduce my out-of-pocket costs.
Needless to say, I was pleased. Once I started shopping, I saw that I had 80 plans to choose from and, with the subsidy, I could buy a bronze plan for as cheap as $48 per month.
In the end, I selected a more generous, silver-level plan with a higher monthly premium, but with cost-sharing reductions which provided me with a low deductible, low out-of-pocket maximum, and a national PPO network.
From account creation to enrollment, the whole process took me about a month and a half. This extended timeline is at least partially due to some of the challenges I experienced with website functionality during this time (for example, I couldn’t actually enroll in my plan until the first week of December). It is also, however, the result of me taking the time I needed to correctly assess my income and financial circumstances before submitting my application, and then to carefully examine and consider my plan choices before making my final enrollment decision. The interface was easy to work with, and the application process was streamlined. I answered most of the questions on the application within 30 – 40 minutes, and then took additional time over the coming weeks to accurately estimate my likely income for 2014. The experience, for me, was a huge improvement over the burdensome application process in the pre-ACA individual market.
Did I Get a Good Deal?
Despite a lot of recent talk about how young adults may be disappointed by prices and coverage options in the Marketplace, I was extremely pleased with the quality and price of coverage offered to me.
My Current Pre-ACA Plan
My 2014 ACA Plan
$201 monthly premium
$166 monthly premium (with subsidy)
$300 annual deductible
$250 annual deductible
$3,000 OOP max (not including copays)
$2,000 OOP max (including copays)
$500,000 annual limit
No annual limit
National PPO network
National PPO network
OOP cost to have a baby: $1,860
OOP cost to have a baby: $1,640
OOP cost to manage type 2 diabetes: $1,420
OOP cost to manage type 2 diabetes: $870
As you can see, with my subsidy, this cost-sharing reduction plan gives me a lower monthly premium, lower deductible, and lower out-of-pocket (OOP) max than my current student policy. Additionally, I get the same national PPO network, but with no annual limits on my coverage. This is in addition to the preventive services without cost-sharing and additional protections that the ACA guarantees to consumers in 2014. In other words: I’m getting a great deal.
Highlights, Tips, and Tricks
- Brush up on your tax literacy beforehand. One of the most challenging parts of the application process, for me, was refreshing my knowledge about basic tax lingo. For example, what counts as income? What is a deduction? Who is in my household, for tax purposes? Make sure you’re familiar with basic tax concepts beforehand, and you’ll be better able to answer these questions.
- Think about your 2014 income ahead of time. If you’re like me (a student, someone who is in-between jobs, or someone who has irregular seasonal employment), you might not know with 100% certainty what income you’ll make next year. Thinking about this complex question ahead of time may enable you answer the question more quickly and accurately.
- When you’re shopping, use the Compare Plans tool. In the upper right hand corner of the shopping screen, you’ll see a tool which allows you to “Compare Plans” (see a screen shot of this feature below). This is a great way to look at plans side-by-side to compare deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and other features.
- Look at the plan network. There were a lot of great deals available to me in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Several of the available plans, however, had smaller or more localized networks than I would prefer. I travel a lot to see my family, so I knew I wanted a plan with a national provider network. Healthcare.gov displays this information as part of the plan subheading, along with metal tier level and whether the plan is an HMO or PPO.
- If you’re having a buggy experience, trying switching browsers. When I initially tried to create my healthcare.gov account on Mozilla Firefox, the site would not function at all. My experience improved once I switched to Internet Explorer. Hopefully this irregularity is something that will improve with time, but there’s no harm in switching it up to see what works, in the mean time!
- Use the Live Chat feature. I was able to get several of my questions answered quickly via the online chat feature in the bottom right hand corner. The representative was polite and gave me accurate information. It was a very convenient way to get a quick question addressed.
Will everyone get the same great deal that I did shopping on healthcare.gov? No. Many people will have a different shopping experience and receive a different subsidy offer based on their age, income, geographic location, and other factors. However, my experience has illustrated to me that everyone deserves to get online and at least explore their options on healthcare.gov. You never know. You may find a great deal!
Written by Megan Randall, Center for Public Policy Priorities. Cross-posted from Better Texas blog.
We continue to talk with Texans who are looking for health coverage in the Marketplace. Read their stories below, and check out more on our Lets Enroll Texas tumblr. The deadline to enroll for coverage that will begin Jan. 1 is Dec 23rd. Find out more about your options online at Healthcare.gov or find local, in-person help to learn more.
Name: Guy Singer
Why is having health care important to you?
Health insurance is important to have to not go bankrupt. It’s also all of our responsibilities to have insurance. We cannot rely on the ER as a line of defense. The emergency room is not a health care room, it is not for getting a physical.
How did it feel to learn about the new health care options available to you?
I’m looking forward to getting health care for my son and me. At my old job, I was paying $700 a month with a $7,000 deductible for my kid and me. I felt screwed over by the insurance companies. So when I heard about Obamacare, I knew I’d try to sign up.
Getting covered means: peace of mind.
Name: Einestein Escalona
Occupation: Restaurant Cook
Why is having health care important to you?
Having health care is very important for the future, if any problems arise. I work in Austin, but live in Cedar Park, and it’s possible I could get in an accident when commuting. I’m also getting older, and getting health insurance is a responsibility I take seriously.
How did it feel to learn about the new health care options available to you?
I didn’t know what to expect, so I was very happy to know I could get good benefits at an affordable cost. I signed up for a silver plan that will cost me $36 a month with a $900 deductible. Other people I work with are paying for private health insurance plans right now that cost more and don’t cover as much.
Getting covered means: a portal to a better future, security in life, being responsible for myself.
Name: Vincent Lu
Why is having health care important to you?
It’s important for me to have for annual check-ups and in case of an emergency. Since I’m a musician, I tour a lot, and if I were to get in an accident on the road, I’d have to face piles of debt without insurance.
How did it feel to learn about the new health care options available to you?
I feel a lot more informed. There’s no reason not to learn more about the options that are out there. I also feel better because I know it will give my mom peace of mind.
Getting covered means: having a safety net.
Cross-posted from Lets Enroll TX tumblr.
Some supporters of the health law are dreading the possibility of talk at the Thanksgiving dinner table turning to the nation’s health law. If getting drawn into a debate over the Affordable Care Act felt rough at other years’ feasts, this year, with the law rolling out, it feels especially dicey.
The good news is we’re here to help with some great information and links you can read up on well before that turkey dinner:
- On rates in the Health Insurance Marketplace: Many people will be getting much better coverage for less than they pay now. While some people will pay more, many of these people have had a bare-bones policy that few would consider good health insurance. Stacey Pogue with the Center for Public Policy Priorities explains more here.
- On those recent health plan cancellations: Stacey also breaks down what you need to know on this score. Additionally, a new report from Families USA shows just how few people-0.5%-are both at risk of losing the coverage they had and without financial assistance to purchase a new, better plan.
- On coverage expansion: As Anne Dunkelberg points out in an Austin American-Statesman op-ed, there are also a lot fewer Texans who risk having to change plans than there are Texans who are affected by Texas’ leaders decision not to expand Medicaid in the state. Over at MomsRising, some fellow champions for health coverage help explain who the folks in the coverage gap are.
- On navigators: The people helping folks enroll in the health insurance marketplace have an important job to do and plans for them need to remember, as our blog post explains: “Insurance is difficult to understand, especially for people who haven’t had it before. Navigators provide in-person help-answering questions, deciphering plan options, and helping people enroll.”
- On other things happening in health policy beyond Obamacare: A new report from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families shows Medicaid and CHIP are huge successes. Medicaid has not only helped many more kids get covered; children also are receiving the care they need to lead healthier lives. And as Clayton Travis of Texans Care for Children explains, some new rules pertaining to mental health will help a lot of people with mental health concerns get treatment they need.
- On the big picture of whether the Affordable Care Act is working: Check out this chart posted by the Washington Post about how the nation’s health care costs are declining-even while care itself improves-thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Your friends at Texas Well and Healthy
P.S. We are very excited to be working with Get Covered America (a campaign of Enroll America) to connect uninsured Texans with the chance to get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Get Covered America is looking for volunteers to help spread the word. There are many different volunteer opportunities. If you hear from Get Covered America about volunteering opportunities, we hope you’ll take the time to talk with them, and learn how you can help get Texas covered.