Community Pharmacies Offer Insight, Support
Bradenton, FL (Sept. 20, 2013) — Open enrollment for what is known as the Health Insurance Marketplace (or Insurance Exchange) begins Oct. 1 and will run through March 31, 2014. An important part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Marketplace allows Americans to select a health insurance plan and sign up for coverage.
Actual coverage for the plan selected by an individual or family can begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014, as long as enrollment takes place by Dec. 15, 2013. To see all the health plans available in their geographic area — and to learn about premiums — individuals must first complete a Marketplace application that asks abouttheir household size and income, according to the federal web site healthcare.gov.
“If you are employed by a company that provideshealth insurance, you probably won’t benefit from visiting the Marketplace,” said Vikram Rao, owner of Fairway Pharmacy in Bradenton. “Most likely, you will continue to select your health insurance during your employers’ Open Enrollment period; although we understand some companies may offer fewer options in the months ahead.”
Marketplaceweb site(s) will outline a variety of plans offered by different insurance companies, Vikram explained. All pricing will be in one place for consumers to compare and contrast.
It is important that consumers educate themselves about the benefits and the provider network included within each plan they consider, he said. “Although all plans in the Marketplaces must offer the minimum of the federally-defined essential health benefits, there may be differences between the additional benefits offered by plans in ourarea. Also, find out if your family doctor or any specialists you use are in the plan’s provider network. Then, learn if you will be restricted to only network physicians, which could be limiting if you travel frequently.”
Where can consumers turn to findinformation about the ACA or the Health Insurance Marketplace?
“Community pharmacies have always been a trusted resource when it comes to personalized healthcare service,”
Vikram added. “And we’re here to help our patients and neighbors, now, during this time of widespread change.” Additional Affordable Care Act information sources include:
The HENRY J. KAISER FAMILY Foundation: www.kff.org
Health Insurance Marketplace: www.healthcare.gov; 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)