Help With the Affordable Care Act
Commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, the Affordable Care Act is the new health care law that was signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Whatever you believe about the law, you should know what is going to happen next and how you and your family can benefit.
Covered California, our state's health insurance marketplace, has set up the Covered California Options Hotline starting Monday, November 25, 2013. A unit of specially trained Service Center Representatives will be available to provide assistance to consumers who have questions or concerns about potential premium increases, plan options, changes in network, or other issues related to their transition from old, non-compliant, non-grandfathered plans to coverage that is compliant under the Affordable Care Act.
California Coverage Options Hotline
Monday through Friday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
The Affordable Care Act and You
It is very important to know that you do not have to change your health insurance if you currently have individual or employer-offered health insurance. In fact, you will get even more coverage and protections. If you do not currently own health insurance, however, the law requires you to do so.
The Affordable Care Act:
- Creates the Health Insurance Marketplace, a new way for individuals, families, and small businesses to get health coverage
- Requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing health conditions
- Helps you understand the coverage you’re getting
- Holds insurance companies accountable for rate increases
- Makes it illegal for health insurance companies to arbitrarily cancel your health insurance just because you get sick
- Protects your choice of doctors
- Covers young adults under 26
- Provides free preventive care
- Ends lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits
- Guarantees your right to appeal
Although the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance more affordable, there will be some who cannot afford to pay the full price of premiums. Thankfully, there are subsidized options for families and individuals who qualify. You may also qualify for Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California.
So how do you figure out which plan works for you? Covered California will be our State’s one-stop-shop to see which health insurance plan works best for uninsured Californians. If you live in California, you will use www.CoveredCa.com to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll. You can apply as early as October 1, 2013. To find more information about enrolling with Covered California’s health insurance Marketplace, you can visit their website or call their Help Line at 1-855-777-6782.
How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of California - Here you can find up-to-date information on the investments made in implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California.
Policy Cancellation Letters
In December 2013, the federal government announced that individuals who received a cancellation letter from their health plan now qualify for a hardship exemption, which allows them to buy catastrophic coverage, also known as minimum coverage plans in California. Minimum coverage plans generally have lower monthly premium costs, but have higher out-of-pocket costs when accessing health services. Individuals who received a cancellation letter and want to buy minimum coverage should contact their health insurance plan directly.
In order to buy a minimum coverage plan, you can contact your health plan provider and submit to them a completed Hardship Exemption Application and a copy of your cancellation letter.
The Affordable Care Act and Businesses
The Affordable Care Act requires all employers with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance to their employees or face federal penalties. Small businesses with less than 50 employees are not required to provide health insurance, but they are given certain tax credits and resources for doing so.
California’s small businesses with less than 50 employees qualify for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which simplifies the process of buying health insurance for an employer’s small business and offers affordable options to keep their employers insured and healthy. Many small businesses may also qualify for tax credits for offering health insurance. Just like the individual marketplace, small businesses can coordinate and plan their health insurance needs with Covered California.
To get all SHOP and small business questions answered by a customer service representative, call 1-800-706-7893 or (TTY: 1-800-706-7915 ). The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.