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4 Easy Steps to Enroll in Obamacare

Obamacare open enrollment for 2014 ends March 31, 2014.  Have you signed up? If you've been procrastinating your enrollment, don't despair -- House Call Doctor will teach you how to sign up in 4 easy steps.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
March 6, 2014
Episode #147

Page 1 of 2

               

In last week's episode, How Will Obamacare Affect You, we discussed the details of the new Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) and how it will affect millions of Americans in their ability to obtain health insurance. 

Whether you are currently insured or not, it’s important to learn how the new healthcare law will affect you and your family. For all the details, make sure to read or listen to that podcast to learn more.

Open enrollment for the 2014 year ends March 31, 2014.  That means, if you do not enroll by this date, you not only will be required to pay the tax penalty, but you will also be left without coverage until 2015.  And if you want coverage beginning April 1, you must enroll by March 15. 

If you’ve been procrastinating this entire time, you are not alone – it is all very confusing to many of us, including those of us in healthcare.  But it’s now getting down to the wire and we need to buckle down and finally figure out how to sign up.  Don’t despair - I will discuss exactly what you need to do to enroll in 4 easy steps.

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Step #1: Find Your State’s Marketplace

Step 1 is the most time-consuming – it requires you to find your state’s marketplace website and do some homework while researching your health insurance plan options.  You can find your state’s specific website at www.healthcare.gov.

How much will health insurance coverage cost your family?  This is the burning question most of you may want to know, and you can find the answer by perusing your state’s marketplace website without officially signing up.  At the same time, they’ve made it easy to also find out if you qualify for Medicaid or federal financial assistance to help pay your monthly premiums, as well.  The only information you will need to provide in order to find your plan options and cost are:

  • Number of people in the household
  • Their ages
  • Your household income
  • Your zip code

That’s it!  No questions about your health, what pre-existing health conditions you may have, what medications you take – none of that.  Just answer those four simple questions, and you can find out what your choices are and how much it will cost you and your family to get insured.

States will offer various levels of health coverage options (4 to be exact – bronze, silver, gold, platinum) that you may purchase. You can compare them side-by-side on the marketplace website.  They all provide the 10 essential “required” services I discussed in my last episode, however, they differ in terms of premiums and co-pays. 

The bronze option will have the lowest monthly premium, but also the highest co-pay for any used services – so for those who rarely see the doctor, this may suffice.  But if you tend to see the doctor frequently and/or have regular prescriptions, a higher level category may be something to consider so that you pay a higher premium but lower co-pays each time you use a service.  You’ll have to think about and decide what’s right for you and your family.

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