There are questions about whether Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare is still in place. Yes, ACA is still the law. ACA:
- expands family health plans to guarantee coverage of dependents, like children, until the age of 26;
- guarantees Americans access to healthcare regardless of preexisting conditions; and,
- expands Medicaid in most U.S. states so millions of healthy adults living in poverty can access care.
Based on Independence Blue Cross’s internal data from the 2017 consumer enrollment period, last year, 86% of their members who purchased a health plan through the Marketplace qualified for financial assistance. One out of five of those members purchased a health plan for a $0 monthly rate. Don’t wait, check it out. This year’s Marketplace health insurance open enrollment for 2018 is a lot shorter; it ends on Friday December 15, 2017.
According to Department of Public Health, Office of the Mayor, if you sign up before December 15, you are guaranteed healthcare for all of 2018. No matter what changes occur in Washington, DC, you will be have health insurance for at least a year. In Philadelphia, over 220,000 people have health insurance because of ACA and the Medicaid expansion.
To enroll into Marketplace health insurance plan, you can:
- Apply online – visit https://www.healthcare.gov
- Apply by phone – Call 1-800-318-2596 (If you need language assistance, press ‘0’ for the representative)
- Apply in person at the following city agencies/non-profits:
Þ Free Library of Philadelphia Health Insurance Enrollment Fairs. To find a health insurance enrollment fair near you, visit: https://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/post/3077
Þ Philadelphia Department of Public Health Centers
To find your local health center, visit: https://beta.phila.gov/posts/health/2017-11-01-need-help-signing-up-for-aca
For more listings, visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov
If you need in-person assistance with Chinese speaking navigators or assisters, you can visit or call:
Þ Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) 215-922-6156; 301 N 9th St, Philadelphia PA 19107
215-467-0690 say “Chinese” (English of Chinese) or extension 128; 1711 S Broad St, Philadelphia PA 19148
Þ Health Center 10
267-939-6016; 2230 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19149
PCDC hosted 4 health insurance info sessions in November, which attracted about 50 attendees. We answered all kinds of questions related to Medicaid, CHIP, Marketplace and Medicare. No matter what insurance you currently have, you should understand how it works.
IMPORTANT: Watch out for fraud in the Marketplace
Last year, some community members reported to PCDC that their Marketplace applications were renewed without their consent. This is an act of fraud, a crime when an individual or an entity deliberately omits or misstates important information for personal benefit. Whether you are renewing or terminating your 2018 coverage, it is important that you personally confirm your enrollment or termination during the enrollment period.
If you suspect a fraud, which includes:
- Misrepresenting information to convince consumers to enroll in a health plan the agent or broker represents.
- Knowingly promising consumers services or prices that aren’t available.
- Representing that they work for the Marketplace in order to obtain consumers’ personal information.
- Enrolling a consumer in a health plan without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.
- Enrolling a consumer in duplicative coverage to obtain another commission or other financial benefit.
You can report the fraud to the following agencies:
Þ HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG):
Contact to report that a consumer’s information was used to enroll someone else in the FFMs.
Phone: 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477);
Þ Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Contact to report identity theft.
Phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338);
Þ State Department of Insurance (DOI):
Contact to report agent/broker fraud.
Þ Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Call Center:
Contact to report a complaint about an assister.
Phone: 1-800-318-2596 (all languages available)