With the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1, there has been much media attention provided to the difficulty of navigating the website. There are four options available for applying for health care coverage:
- Apply online (https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/individual/)
- Apply by phone – 1-800-318-2596 or TTY 1-855-889-4325 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- Apply by paper (application) (instructions)
- Apply in-person with an assister
The fourth option is perhaps the one that you may not have heard of. The assister is also called a “Navigator”. A Navigator can help you get information about health insurance options and tax credits and help you enroll in health insurance exchanges. For more information provided by Enroll Missouri on Navigators in Missouri or to find a Navigator near you, click here.
Medicare Access for Patients Rx (MAP Rx) has an informational sheet developed about the role of Navigators and how they can assist you in enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can click here for the document in its entirety, or can view their checklist of specific questions below:
What to ask your navigator before you decide on a health insurance plan:
- Does the health plan cover my medications?
- Does the health plan cover brand name medications?
- Does the health plan use co-pays. How much are they?
- Are there any other costs to me? Can you explain those costs?
- Is there coinsurance? What does that mean I must pay out of pocket?
- Does the health plan require prior authorization from the plan before I get the medicine prescribed by my doctor?
- Does the health plan require me to fail on other medications before I get the medicine prescribed by my doctor?
- Where do I go to file a complaint if I can’t find the coverage I need?
To have insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014, you must enroll by December 15, 2013 and have paid your first premium payment. Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage ends on March 31, 2014. To find out more about how you can enroll for insurance after March 31, please view the healthcare.gov website (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Though there are some hiccups in the online application process, there are several other options that you can choose. Using a Navigator may be useful, especially if you have questions. With many resources available, we wish you luck and ease in finding affordable health insurance for you and/or your family!