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Senior Citizen Alerts

Hype Begins on Health Insurance Marketplace Which Does Not Apply to Seniors on Medicare

Senior citizens need to be aware that the insurance portion of Obamacare does not apply to them – they stay in Medicare

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

June 24, 2013 - The educational effort by the Obama administration to introduce the Health Insurance Marketplace – the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – kicked off today. There will be lots of hype on this health insurance part of the plan but senior citizens need to know it does not apply to them. Those age 65 and older will continue their coverage in Medicare and, or Medicaid. Below are some key things seniors need to know.

Seniors and the Health Insurance Marketplace

   ● If I have Medicare do I need to do anything? Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance Marketplace, so you don’t need to do anything. If you have Medicare, you are considered covered.

   ● Medicare coverage is protected: Under the health care law, your existing Medicare-covered benefits won’t be reduced or taken away. You don't have to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage. For questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. ADD TTY NUMBER

   ● Save money on drugs: If you're in the prescription drug "donut hole", you'll get more than 50% off when buying Part D-covered brand-name prescription drugs. You save on generics too. The donut hole will be closed completely by 2020.

   ● Get more preventive care, for less: Under the health care law, Medicare now covers certain preventive services, like mammograms or colonoscopies, without charging you for the Part B coinsurance or deductible. You also can get a free yearly "Wellness" visit.

   ● The Health Insurance Marketplace: If you're under 65 and don't have Medicare or Medicaid coverage, you can find coverage and pricing options in the Health Insurance Marketplace. You may qualify for savings on your monthly premiums or lower out-of-pocket costs for private insurance.

   ● More Medicare details

Ø  Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7) hasn’t changed.

Ø  Remember, Marketplace insurance isn’t for people who have Medicare, so don’t drop your Medicare coverage.

Ø  To learn more about your Medicare coverage and choices, visit medicare.gov.

Ø  If you have family and friends under age 65 who don’t have health insurance, or if they want to explore new health plan options, tell them to visit www.HealthCare.gov and the Individuals & Families page, where they sign up for email updates.

What those under age 65 need to do

 

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The educational for the Health Insurance Marketplace targeting younger Americans launched a consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help Americans younger than age 65 prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance. 

The new tools help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1.

This open enrollment date may also be confusing to senior citizens, since the open enrollment period for Medicare kicks off on October 15.

“The new website and toll-free number have a simple mission: to make sure every American who needs health coverage has the information they need to make choices that are right for themselves and their families—or their businesses,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

HealthCare.gov is the destination for the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Americans may now access new educational information and learn what they can do to begin to get ready for open enrollment this fall.  The website will add functionality over the summer so that, by October, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans.  For Spanish speaking consumers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will also be updated to match HealthCare.gov’s new consumer focus.

Key features of the website, based on consumer research and online commercial best practices include integration of social media, sharable content, and engagement destinations for consumers to get more information.  The site will also launch with web chat functionality to support additional consumer inquiries.

The website is built with a responsive design so that consumers may access it from their desktops, smart-phones, and other mobile devices. In addition, the website is available via an application interface at www.healthcare.gov/developers.

Between now and the start of open enrollment, the Marketplace call center will provide educational information and, beginning Oct. 1, 2013, will assist consumers with application completion and plan selection.  In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.  Customer service representatives are available for assistance via a toll-free number at 1-800-318-2596 and hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325 for assistance.

To view the new look and new focus of the website, visit www.HealthCare.gov. Just remember this does not apply to older Americans on Medicare.

HHS says it is on target for open enrollment in the Marketplace, which begins Oct. 1, 2013, and other key milestones approaching in the months ahead.  Coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

 

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