The health insurance marketplace in Parker County

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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You’ve probably heard about the new affordable health insurance options that began October 1. Plans will cover a comprehensive set of benefits and individuals cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. A “health insurance marketplace” will help individuals find health plans.

The health insurance marketplace, also known as the health insurance exchange, is a one-stop shop where consumers can compare insurance plans, apply for and enroll in health insurance coverage. With one application, you can find out if you qualify for health plans and other programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can also learn if you qualify for help paying for healthcare costs through tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.

Every plan has to pay 60 percent of your medical bills. But from there, you decide, do you want to pay a higher premium and get more of your benefits paid – or do you want to pay a lower premium and run the risk that, if you get sick, you’ll have to pay more out of your own pocket?

It’s important to know that all of the health insurance plans will offer the same set of “essential” health benefits. These are services all plans must cover and include preventive care and wellness services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospitalization and emergency department care, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, rehabilitative services and devices, and pediatric services.

For children, the health plans must cover a set of preventive health services at no cost (no copayment, co-insurance or deductible) when delivered by an in-network provider. Some of these preventive health services for children include screenings for autism, blood pressure, depression and vision, as well as immunization vaccines through age 18.

Application can be completed online at www.healthcare.gov, by calling 1-800-318-2596 or through a navigator or another qualified helper in our community. Open enrollment ends March 31. After that, annual enrollment will open again in October 2014.

Weatherford Regional Medical Center wants all members of our community to have access to the insurance coverage for which they qualify. Our hospital has trained financial counselors who can who can explain the opportunities, verify eligibility, and assist with sign-up for affordable health insurance. To make an appointment for this free service, call 817-599-1621.

While many changes are occurring in healthcare, our commitment to providing quality care is constant. Our hospital is committed to supporting our community’s healthcare needs and to informing the people we serve.

For more information on this topic, please join us for a open forum we’re hosting:

• Tues., Oct. 15

6—7:30 p.m.

Weatherford Ninth Grade Center

1007 S. Main Street, Weatherford

For any questions about the forums, please call 817-599-1161.

Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Healthcare.gov, Kaiser Health News

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