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Cunningham Report 11.14.2013

How Can You Enroll in the ACA?

One of the most talked-about issues in our nation is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the slow running website, www.healthcare.gov, intended to help enroll people across the country into the new health care program. That website has left many wondering if they will be able to enroll by the mandated deadlines. Others are worried about trusting a system to enroll them, when the system itself has not been usable to most.

Since the site was launched on Oct. 1, there has been a host of issues. In the first days users experienced long waits and few were able to sign up at all. Recent media reports show that the day before the site was launched (Sept. 30) it would only host 1,100 users before response time got too long. The site has been accessed by as many as 250,000 users at one time.

By going to www.covermissouri.org, constituents have access to information that outlines qualifications for exemptions, availability of tax credits to lower the cost of insurance, applications to enroll in coverage, resources to help with signing up and comparing plans and more. Bottom line, Missourians have choices, they do not have to go through the federal government to obtain coverage.

New plans under the ACA take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.  Open enrollment continues through March 14.

All of the private health insurance plans offered in the marketplace will offer coverage for certain medical events. The essential services covered by every insurance plan must include coverage for:

•        Outpatient  services

•        Emergency services

•        Hospitalization

•        Maternity and newborn care

•        Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health services

•        Prescription drugs

•        Rehabilitative or habilitative services

•        Lab services

•        Pediatric services

•        Preventive and wellness services along with chronic disease management

Many plans will include coverage beyond those required.

Missourians are being offered plans through three companies: Coventry Health and Life, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

Enrollment help through trained assistants is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-318-2596 or TTY 1-855-889-4352. You can also get help in locating a trained assistant at www.covermissouri.org.  Applications can also be printed off of the website, filled out and mailed, with or without assistance.

Capitol Office, State Capitol, Room 331, Jefferson City, MO  65101; phone number: (573) 751-1882; website: www.senate.mo.gov/cunningham

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