Why health insurance is important

Recent changes in health care have made “health insurance exchanges” and “insurance marketplace” — places for the uninsured to get health insurance — important topics of discussion. But what do they mean for you?

Simply put, access to health care often comes down to having health insurance coverage. Of course, if you’re lucky/smart/all of the above, you stay out of the hospital and ERs. But it’s still important to be seen for health maintenance visits, vaccinations — not to mention the unexpected injury or seasonal allergy.

We’re fortunate to have a great system of primary and specialty care in our community. Delaware doctors try hard to minimize financial barriers to care. But there’s no getting around the fact that lack of insurance is a real issue in our country and in our state.

That’s where new initiatives and partnerships can help. At Christiana Care, by working together with other groups, we are pleased to serve our neighbors as partners in Choose Health Delaware. Choose Health Delaware provides access to a “marketplace” of insurance plans, which are typically lower-cost than you might have previously found on your own. What’s more, the plans are subsidized to level of income, to make affordability less of an issue.

The new insurance plans don’t replace your existing plans. For example, Medicare for seniors remains the same, as do Medicaid plans. Whom does this help? Many of the almost 100,000 Delawareans who do not have health insurance.

So this is not only an opportunity for peace of mind — if you need to receive emergency care or hospital care, you have better coverage now — but also for prevention. Under the new plans, the priority is staying well. A host of preventive services are covered: screenings, vaccinations and women’s health.

To help our neighbors understand their insurance options through the marketplace, Christiana Care has hired marketplace guides. The guides are located at our newly renovated Wilmington Hospital and  in Christiana Care family medicine offices and emergency care locations. The guides can help you find the right insurance for your needs and budget, and they can also help you understand community health resources that you might need.

This is change of the good kind. As a physician, I see this as an opportunity: to do the right thing for our neighbors and communities. For the 100,000 uninsured Delawareans, this means not having to worry as much about coverage for essential health services. For those of us in health care, it means we can really integrate the programs we and others offer to take care of your health.

There’s a lot to know, but our marketplace guides are here to help you. They’re a phone call away at 302-320-6586. You can also check out the TV ads for the new program: Ad 1, Ad 2.

So while we don’t usually think of insurance as an exciting topic, this is big. We’d love to hear your experiences with our efforts to help, so please let us know what you think.

More about the Affordable Care Act and Marketplace Guides