Your Benefits Open Enrollment and Health Care Reform
Benefits Open Enrollment is your once-a-year chance to enroll in or update your Penn State health insurance plan choices for you and your family members.
This year, it’s especially important to make sure you and your family have health insurance. The new health care reform law (also called the Affordable Care Act) requires most Americans to have health insurance starting January 1, 2014. If you do not have health insurance by this date, you may have to pay a tax penalty to the federal government.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is coming soon
A new way to get affordable coverage launches October 1. The Marketplace is a new way to find quality health coverage. It can help if you don’t have coverage now or if you have it but want to look at other options.
With one Marketplace application, you will answer a few questions to learn if you can get lower costs based on your income, compare your coverage options side-by-side, and enroll.
What you'll learn when you apply in the Health Insurance Marketplace
When you use the Health Insurance Marketplace, you'll fill out an application and see all the health plans available in your area. You'll provide some information about your household size and income to find out if you can get lower costs on your monthly premiums for private insurance plans. You'll learn if you qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs.
The Marketplace will also tell you if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage available through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Most Americans will be eligible to use the Marketplace. Learn more about Marketplace eligibility.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is sometimes known as the health insurance "exchange."
What plans in the Marketplace cover
Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies. They cover the same core set of benefits called essential health benefits. No plan can turn you away or charge you more because you have an illness or medical condition. They must cover treatments for these conditions. Plans can't charge women more than men for the same plan. Many preventive services are covered at no cost to you.
How the Marketplace presents plan information
The Marketplace simplifies your search for health coverage by gathering the options available in your area in one place. You can compare plans based on price, benefits, and other features important to you before you make a choice. Plans will be presented in four categories – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum – to make comparing them easier.
In the Marketplace, information about prices and benefits will be written in simple language. You get a clear picture of what premiums you'd pay and what benefits and protections you'd get before you enroll. Compare plans based on what's important to you, and choose the combination of price and coverage that fits your needs and budget.
Apply online, by mail, or in-person
Health Insurance Marketplace in Pennsylvania
If you live in Pennsylvania, you’ll use the website, www.HealthCare.gov, to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll. Specific plans and prices will be available on October 1, 2013, when Marketplace open enrollment begins. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2014.
You can apply for Marketplace coverage three ways: online using the website above, by mail, or in-person with the help of a Navigator or other qualified helper. Telephone help and online chat are available 24/7 to help you complete your application. Downloadable and paper applications will be available October 1.
Open enrollment starts October 1, 2013. Plans and prices will be available on October 1, 2013. Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.
Learn about your options if you need coverage that begins before January 1, 2014.
Questions? Visit www.HealthCare.gov; or call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)