Health insurance: What’s next?

Health insurance: What’s next?

Since the U.S. Health Insurance Marketplace opened in October, Christiana Care’s 12 marketplace guides have worked with more than 8,000 patients and neighbors to help them learn about their health insurance options and access health services. Uninsured Americans have until March 31 to enroll in plans through the Affordable Care Act and have health insurance coverage in 2014. Many Americans will have health insurance coverage for the first time. In this Q&A, Christiana Care Marketplace Guide Coordinator Lauren Pendergast offers a look at what to expect:

I would like to enroll in a health insurance plan before the March 31 deadline. What do I need to do?

You can visit Choose Health Delaware to learn about your options. If you would like a marketplace guide to help you understand your options or enroll in a plan, call 302-320-6586 or e-mail for a free consultation. When you meet with a marketplace guide, it is very important that you bring:

  • Birth dates of those applying for coverage.
  • Social Security numbers of those applying for coverage.
  • Paystubs, W-2 forms, tax returns and all other information about your family’s income.

What does a typical meeting with marketplace guide include?

We spend as much time with people as they need. Most are looking for guidance so they understand what their options are. To assist Spanish-speaking citizens, we have a Spanish-speaking administrative assistant to help set up meetings and one bilingual guide. Our guides talk with patients about current insurance status and about their options through the health insurance marketplace.

If they wish to begin their health insurance applications, our guides will then assist with that. Marketplace guides can assist with all parts of the application, including enrollment into a plan. Marketplace guides can also assist with enrollment into Medicaid.

Christiana Care marketplace guides also can connect patients to health services for themselves and their families. That is a unique service we provide at Christiana Care since our marketplace guides also are trained as health guides.

What happens if I do not enroll in a health insurance plan by March 31?

You may have to pay a fine to the federal government. Uninsured Americans will have another opportunity to enroll in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act for coverage in 2015. The enrollment period will begin in November 2014.

If you are graduating from college, turning 26, or lose your employer coverage after March 31, you are still eligible for health insurance for the 2014 plan year. Our marketplace guides can help you with information and with your enrollment.

I have a new insurance plan and I have questions. Can a marketplace guide help me?

Absolutely. Many Americans who are newly insured have questions about how their insurance works and how to connect with the health care services they need. Our marketplace guides are happy to help. In fact, we are holding information sessions for newly insured Delawareans in April. Check our Help With Help Insurance page for details.