Learn More About Health Care Reform
Need Health Insurance? A Guide to Access to the Affordable Care Act
The online health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, created by healthcare reform are getting ready to open. The exchanges are a new way to shop for health coverage and allow customers to compare insurance plans in terms of cost, quality and benefits.
Maryland Health Connection, our state’s new health insurance marketplace, opens on October 1, 2013. Maryland Health Connection was established to make health insurance affordable and accessible for all Maryland residents. Maryland residents who need health coverage can go to www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov to learn about the available plans and enroll in the one that best meets their needs.
You may qualify for help paying for your health care costs, depending on your income and family size. The online application process will help you determine if you qualify for financial assistance to reduce the cost of your monthly insurance premiums. Even if you never qualified for Medicaid before, you may be eligible through the expansion of Medicaid in Maryland.
The core benefits that all health plans must offer include doctor visits, hospitalization, emergency care, maternity care, pediatric care, prescriptions, medical tests, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and more. These are known as Essential Health Benefits through the Affordable Care Act. Plans must cover preventive care at no extra cost to you, including flu and pneumonia shots, birth control, routine vaccinations, and cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Maryland Health Connection has a consumer assistance program to help you along the way. In addition to the one-stop shop online at MarylandHealthConnection.gov, you can access help through the customer service center by phone and get in-person assistance from one of many Connectors located in all counties across the state.
In Allegany County, the Connector is Door to Healthcare. The Door to HealthCare is a program of Healthy Howard, Inc. that provides free help in choosing affordable, quality health coverage. It is the official source for information in six Maryland counties – Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard and Washington. The Door provides practical answers about new changes in health care, personal support for making the right choice and assistance with signing up for health insurance. To learn more, visit www.doortohealthcare.org
Information about the health insurance marketplace in West Virginia is available at www.wvinsurance.gov. Pennsylvania residents can learn more at www.pahealthoptions.com.