On October 1, 2013, online health insurance Marketplaces opened in every state. These Marketplaces, which are a central feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), allow uninsured Americans to shop for and purchase health insurance. The Marketplaces also allow individuals to apply for Medicaid and subsides to help pay for insurance. Open enrollment will continue until March 31, 2014.
People with Medicare may be wondering what the marketplaces mean for them. The Center for Medicare Advocacy has a new webpage for people with Medicare and their advocates.
You can visit the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s website here: http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/health-care-reform-aca/
Caution for Medicare Beneficiaries: People with Medicare do not need to purchase health insurance through the Marketplace. Their Medicare coverage, whether received through a Medicare Advantage plan or through original Medicare, isn’t changing because of the Affordable Care Act and the Marketplaces. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it is illegal to sell someone with Medicare a Marketplace plan.
An important enrollment date: The Medicare Annual Coordinated Election Period (AEP) period runs from October 15th to December 7th but is not connected to the ACA Marketplace open enrollment period. During the Medicare AEP, people with Medicare can change Medicare Advantage or Part D plans. Medicare beneficiaries should review their coverage options during this time and make sure the plan they have is still right for them. For more information visit: https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx (Please note that the Plan-Finder will not be updated during the government shutdown).
Finally, if someone is having trouble affording their Medicare coverage, including their Part B or D premium and co-insurance, they can apply for Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), or the Part D Low Income Subsidy. For more information, visit: http://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/help-paying-costs/get-help-paying-costs.html