Navigating the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace can be confusing, but several websites and hotlines are available to help you learn more about how to choose a health insurance plan and what to expect when signing up. In this week’s installment of “Hey, Doc,” TMA provides a list of reliable resources for Texans to learn more about the marketplace ahead of open enrollment on Nov. 15.
Q. Where can I get more information about the marketplace?
A. The federal government is running Texas’ exchange and serves as the main resource for information and enrollment. The following list includes resources we have found helpful in providing details on the insurance marketplace, what to expect, and how to sign up:
- The federal government’s Healthcare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov has checklists, videos, and other resources to help you prepare for open enrollment, although actual plans and price comparisons won’t be available until Nov. 15. 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 (800) 318-2596. Also, people in your local community known as navigators will be available to help with the enrollment process beginning in November.
- Marketplace.cms.gov is another federal resource with explanations; checklists; and official forms, applications, and language materials.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas launched a campaign called Be Covered Texas to help Texans understand the federal health reform law and navigate the insurance marketplace in Texas. Call (866) 427-7492 Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm Central Time, or go online any time to BeCoveredTexas.org. The bilingual English-Spanish website 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 features an interactive map detailing each state’s insurance marketplace. KFF’s Subsidy Calculator tool can help you and your family estimate how much you can spend on health insurance and whether you qualify for financial assistance.
- 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.
- If you think you are eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program, you can contact the Texas Medicaid Program at (800) 252-8263.