Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hey Doc, Where Can I Find More Information About Insurance Marketplaces?

We know health reform is big and confusing. Some parts of the law started in 2010. Other parts are rolling out over the next several years. Texas physicians and the Texas Medical Association have carefully studied the law to help you understand what the changes mean to your health care.

As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to roll out, Me&My Doctor’s “Hey Doc” series will answer your frequently-asked questions, as well as some you might not have thought to ask.

Check out part one in this series here.


Q. Where can I get more questions answered? 

A. Because Texas chose not to launch its own marketplace, the federal government will run the exchange here and serve as the main resource for information and enrollment.

Right now, you can go online to Healthcare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov and find checklists, videos, and other resources to get ready for open enrollment, although actual plans and price comparisons won’t be available until Oct. 1. That’s when you’ll actually apply, too, but you can get ready now. A toll-free call center is available to help answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-318-2596. There also will be people available in your local community known as navigators to help with the enrollment process beginning in October.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas also launched a campaign called “Be Covered Texas” to help Texans understand the federal health reform law and navigate the new insurance marketplace in Texas. Call 866-427-7492 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time, or go online any time to BeCoveredTexas.org.

If you have questions about insurance you already bought in Texas or receive through your employer here, you can contact the Texas Department of Insurance at (800) 578-4677 or http://www.tdi.texas.gov/index.html.

If you think you are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, you can contact the Texas Medicaid Program at (800) 252-8263 or http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/medicaid/.

Q. Where can I find out more about the Marketplace?

A. There is a lot of information out there that can be difficult to sort through. Here are a few resources we have found helpful in providing details on the insurance marketplace, what to expect, and how to sign up:
  • Healthcare.gov –the federal government’s official website for consumer information on the marketplace and the health care law overall. 
  • Marketplace.cms.gov – another federal resource with explanations, checklists, and official forms, applications, and language materials. 
  • Be Covered Texas” – a bilingual English-Spanish website that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas set up to help Texans understand how the marketplace will work here and get signed up. The site also offers materials like printable fact sheets on the marketplace and the health reform law and checklists to get ready.  
  • Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF’s) State Health Insurance Marketplace Profiles –an interactive map detailing each state’s insurance marketplace.
  • KFF’s Subsidy Calculator – a subsidy calculator tool to help families estimate how much they could spend on health insurance and whether they qualify for financial assistance.

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