by David O’Malley, North Florida Organizer, Enroll America
Editor’s note: The Obamacare system IS helping a lot of people. It is far from what we need, but it is what we’ve got now. A single-payer system like Canada’s, and most of the world’s, would eliminate all these complexities, but we don’t have that yet. With that said here is this.
The second open enrollment period for Marketplace health insurance plans began on November 15. The Affordable Care Act enables millions of Americans to gain access to healthcare in our costly medical system.
Now, individuals have an opportunity to buy affordable, comprehensive coverage. Millions of people got covered since the Marketplace first opened on October 1, 2013. Millions more still do not know about their options for healthcare.
The estimated uninsured rate in Alachua County dropped from 20 percent in 2013 to 15 percent in 2014. In Florida, 91 percent of the nearly one million who signed up for a marketplace plan got financial assistance, and the average monthly premium was $68.
People without healthcare coverage are unaware of basic facts about their new options for insurance. A national survey showed that 88 percent of the uninsured do not know that the Marketplace opens on Nov. 15, and more than half don’t know that financial help is available. However, two thirds of the uninsured want coverage.
Many people without health insurance fall into the coverage gap. They don’t qualify for Florida Medicaid but their income is below the threshold to qualify for a Marketplace plan. These people rely on charity care. The charity healthcare available in our county is better than most. We have dedicated people in nonprofit organizations, churches, and our medical institutions who devote time and resources to help people in need.
With the start of the second open enrollment, many can obtain needed healthcare. Health insurance is a critical issue for young adults in their family forming years, who struggle with bills, low wages, and the everyday tasks of putting food on the table.
Children need preventive care and doctor visits. Health insurance provides peace of mind knowing medical needs are covered, and is crucial for financial stability of young families. Unfortunately, many young adults have never had health insurance and are unfamiliar with terms like deductible and copay.
Affordable health insurance is also important for entrepreneurs, artists and freelancers who power our creative economy. Without affordable health insurance, savings can be quickly depleted. And as people approach retirement, illness and unemployment often occur together. The Affordable Care Act has made a big difference in many lives, and many remain to helped before the Feb. 15 deadline to Get Covered!
For basic information on your options go to Get Covered America http://getcoveredamerica.org/. To reach a local navigator go to http://ncfnavigators.org/, http://enrollamerica.org/, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.