Open enrollment time for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is upon us. And if we learned anything from last year, it’s that getting information and educating ourselves is KEY. We have all heard and experienced the struggles that comes with the healthcare overhaul. The roll out of ACA, or more commonly known as “Obamacare,” was a new era for our countries’ healthcare. It offered the possibility for the uninsured, and options for others. ACA was a highly debated topic on every media outlet. People either hated it passionately, or thought it was best thing since slice bread. Whichever side you fall into, the fact still remains “people need healthcare”.
Healthcare should be affordable and accessible for all. The reality for many before ACA was that healthcare was out of their reach because of the cost. The cost of healthcare is rising faster than inflation. In our family, if we didn’t receive assistance we would never dream of having a cost-friendly insurance. We would have fallen into the 1 out 6 Americans who in 2010 didn’t have coverage.
The Marketplace seemed overwhelming for many to navigate. The best way to explain it is similar to when you make traveling plans – you use a search engine (i.e. Travelocity) and compare flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. The Marketplace works the same. You get to compare “apples to apples.”
I took the opportunity to try it out when I helped my in-laws look for plans and companies. It was easy to compare plans by seeing them side-by-side. The biggest advice I can give in regards to The Marketplace is to read the Summary of Benefits. 1) What’s covered 2) What’s not covered and 3) Evaluate your needs and how much you want to pay. This last step is crucial to deciding which plan to choose.
To get the most from your health care plan you must educate yourself. Using the tools and resources on websites like Healthcare.gov, or your states’ ACA website, will help you make an informed decision. These websites have videos that help explain vocabulary and acronyms that can seem overwhelming and sometimes way over our heads.
VIDEO: BUYING A HEALTH PLAN
The biggest issue I heard from people this year was they “didn’t know“ what to do or where to find information. So be an active participant in your healthcare. You have from Nov. 15 – Feb. 15 2015 to sign up for a new plan that fits your needs. Let’s be in the “know” about ACA. The more you know, the better for your health.
VIDEO: OPEN ENROLLMENT GUIDE