Are you confused, befuddled, anxious or in-the-dark about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) might affect you, especially now that open enrollment is over? You’re not alone. I cover health care and have to admit I’m confused.
To help set the ACA record straight, AARP Florida representative Ken Reinhardt will present “The Health Care Law and How it Affects You,” today, April 9, at 10 a.m. The free lecture will be held at the Duncan Conference Center (15820 South Military Trail, Delray Beach).
You can register on the website or by calling 1-800-897-9789.
For those who can't attend, don't fret. Dave Bruns, spokesman for AARP Florida, went over some of the more common questions about how health insurance is or isn’t changing.
The deadline for sign up during the open enrollment was April 1. So unless you qualify under special circumstances to sign up for the exchanges, you’ll have to wait for the next open enrollment which begins Nov. 15. But just because you missed Obamacare's open enrollment period, doesn’t mean that you have to go without health insurance until November. Some private insurers will continue to offer plans.
If you have Medicare—not Medicare Advantage—your coverage might change for the better, Bruns says. You don’t have to get additional coverage because Medicare already meets the ACA’s requirements. The good news: that Medicare Care Part B doughnut hole, which left some with expensive prescription drug bills when coverage ran out, will start to close. The ACA will phase out that gap in prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients through 2020.
Medicare Advantage plan members might see significant changes in the networks. In other words, their doctors and other health providers could change.
People who are insured through employer-sponsored coverage probably won’t notice big changes to their coverage, other than receiving more benefits, Bruns says, including full coverage for preventive care services.
The people who might get hit the hardest with change are those who have individual policies and didn’t get onto one of the exchanges, Bruns says. If they haven’t been kicked off their policies, change to their coverage is a matter of time.
I checked on mine, and I can keep my coverage until November, when my insurance carrier says it will change my individual policy. I’ll have to revisit going onto the exchanges at that time.
For more information about coverage, go to http://healthcare.gov/.
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Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.