You’re the Cure advocate Vance Lobe has had October 1st marked on his calendar for a while. That’s because starting today, Vance and millions of other uninsured Americans will have access to affordable health care options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace.
As a heart disease survivor, Vance knows how critical access to quality care is. When he had his first heart attack in 2009, it was just 69 minutes from the time 9-1-1 was called to the time stents were inserted to repair his right artery, which was 100 percent blocked. And thanks to the coverage he had through his employer, he was able to focus on his recovery.
However, following a second heart attack a couple years later, Vance had some employment changes that left him uninsured and struggling to find affordable options given his pre-existing condition.
“I pride myself on being a responsible citizen,” said Vance. “But I had to make a choice: pay for mortgage and food, or health insurance.”
Like many uninsured Americans, Vance faces constant worries of “what if” when it comes to his health. He’s had to limit his visits to the doctor and make decisions about taking his medications that he shouldn’t have to make.
“If I had another heart attack, I don’t know what I would do,” he said. “It’s a very real fear every day.”
But help is finally here for Vance and others who have been living without the health and financial security health care coverage provides. Today, open enrollment began for the Health Insurance Marketplace, providing an easier way for consumers who are uninsured to shop for and purchase health insurance that best meets their needs and budget.
Vance put it best when he said, “With the Affordable Care Act, my payment is going to be reasonable and affordable — and it’s good coverage." So, join him in learning about your options and getting enrolled today.
Here’s what Vance and others need to know about the new Health Insurance Marketplace:
1) Open enrollment runs from October 1, 2013- March 31, 2014. Those who enroll in a plan by December 15, 2013 will have their new coverage begin on January 1, 2014.
2) To learn more and enroll, you can visit www.HealthCare.gov, call 1-800-318-2596, or seek in-person assistance in your area.
3) All health plans offered through the Marketplace must cover 10 essential health benefits, including emergency services, hospitalization, primary & specialty care, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative care.
4) Consumers cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition, nor can they be charged higher premiums based on health status or gender.
5) Most consumers purchasing a plan through the Marketplace will qualify for financial assistance to help make premiums affordable.
We want to hear from you: Are you a heart disease or stroke survivor who has stuggled to find affordable health care coverage? Have you/will you be enrolling in a plan through the new Health Insurance Marketplace? Tell us your story in the comments below.