The Affordable Care Act
Rep. Sewell believes that every American should have access to affordable, high-quality health care. The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 was an important step toward improving the quality of care and expanding access to coverage for every individual and their family. Because of the Affordable Care Act:
- Insurance companies cannot charge the nearly two million Alabamians with pre-existing conditions more for coverage, nor can they charge women more, simply for being a woman.
- If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents' health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own.
- You can receive financial assistance to cover the cost of your insurance premiums.
- If you own an eligible small business, you may be able to receive tax credits if you choose to offer coverage to your employees through the small business marketplace - covering up to 50 percent of the cost of coverage.
- Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage.
- Under Medicare Part D, you will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs.
- Insurance plans are required to provide essential health benefits, such as preventative services, maternity care and mental health support.
You can find a community health care center near you here.
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act:
- Economists who support the Affordable Care Act
Annual open enrollment – the time when you can get or change your health insurance coverage – was from November 1 to December 15, 2019. During the open enrollment period, you can review your existing coverage and compare plans for coverage for 2020 at Healthcare.gov.
Outiside of the open enrollment period, you can still sign up for the ACA if you have a life event that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. You can see if you can enroll in or change a plan for 2020 here.
Please review these frequently asked questions and links to resources to assist you.
Can I sign up for health insurance after the open enrollment period ends on December 15?
After December 15, you can enroll in 2020 health insurance only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
How long after I enroll in a plan will coverage take effect?
Most plans begin on January 1, 2020.
Congressional Republicans eliminated the individual mandate. Does it still make sense to get covered?
Yes. While there is no longer a tax penalty for being uninsured, it is still important to have insurance coverage in case you get sick.
How can I find out if a health plan covers the prescription drugs that I take?
Health plans in the Marketplace must include a link to their prescription drug “formulary” with other on-line information about the plan. The formulary is a list of prescription drugs the plan will cover.
Can I be charged more if I have a pre-existing condition?
No. The Affordable Care Act mandated that Marketplace health insurance plans cannot charge you more based on your health status or pre-existing condition. However, some plans, such as short-term policies, that are sold off the Marketplace might turn you down or charge you more based on your health status or pre-existing condition.
I like my health insurance policy. Will it change this year?
It depends. Insurers are allowed to make changes to policies each year, but shortly before Open Enrollment begins, you should receive a notice from your insurance company describing any changes to your policy and the new monthly premium.
How do I find out if I qualify for health insurance discounts?
On the health insurance Marketplace website, you will find an Application for Health Coverage and Help Paying Costs. Filling out the application online is the fastest, though you can also submit a paper application or call your Marketplace call center and apply over the phone. Once you’ve submitted the application, the Marketplace will let you know if you qualify for help paying for Qualified Health Plans it offers. It will also let you know if you (or any members of your family) may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Apply even if you, your spouse, or your child already have health coverage. You could be eligible for free or lower-cost coverage.
There are a lot of plans to choose from. How can I get help signing up?
Enroll Alabama offers help enrolling in the marketplace. You can find them online at http://enrollala.com.
If you have other questions about which plan to choose, what your plan covers, or how to change your plan, you may also call 1-800-318-2596. As always, my Birmingham District Office is available to assist you at (205) 254-1960.