December 21, 2013

If you haven’t enrolled yet, there’s still time to get coverage for 2014

Sign up by Monday for coverage starting Jan. 1, or enroll by March 31 for later coverage dates.

Healthcare.gov is working significantly better for the vast majority of consumers.

Millions of Americans are going to the website and enrolling in affordable, quality coverage.

Over the past eight weeks, we have made the necessary fixes to greatly improve the online experience and ensure that consumers successfully move through the entire enrollment process.

We recognize that many consumers have been frustrated by their experience over the past several weeks and our message is simple: Come back and get covered.

Here are some tips to help ensure that you have the information and insights you need to understand your coverage options and to enroll in coverage at the Health Insurance Marketplace:

• You have four ways to enroll in the Marketplace. You can enroll through the website, by contacting the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, by filling out a paper application, or by speaking to someone in your community who can help you enroll in person.

Information about where you can go in your community to find help is available at localhelp.healthcare.gov.

• You still have time to enroll. If you are interested in obtaining coverage for yourself or your family that will be effective on Jan. 1, you have until Monday to enroll through HealthCare.gov, over the phone or in person.

Additionally, you have until March 31 to enroll in a plan that will guarantee coverage starting later in 2014.

• All plans offered through the Marketplace include new benefits and protections. They must provide a set of defined “essential benefits” such as preventive benefits, mental health services, prescription drug coverage and emergency services to ensure you have the coverage you need to stay healthy and protection against large medical bills when you’re sick.

Moreover, no one with a pre-existing condition can be denied coverage, and no one will face a lifetime cap on insurance benefits.

• The policies available to most Americans through the Marketplace offer premiums that are lower, rather than higher, than what most consumers are now paying, and for better coverage.

The Marketplace is the only place where you can receive financial assistance with health insurance, and most people with individual health insurance plans will qualify for lower costs.

• Even if your insurance company has told you that your individual health insurance plan is being canceled at the end of 2013, you may actually be able to keep your plan in 2014.

If your insurer decides to give you the option to renew your health plan for 2014 without making changes to benefits, they must send you a letter notifying you of this possibility.

Your insurer can give you this option even if they have already told you that your plan is being canceled.

More than one in 10 Americans do not have health insurance. We want to ensure that everyone who wants it has access to the quality coverage options offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Visit HealthCare.gov. Explore your options. Sign up by Monday and enjoy all the benefits of health insurance by Jan. 1.

Now is the time to get covered.

Marilyn Tavenner is administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. www.cms.gov/

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