Halloween is over which means the season is officially upon us. No, we're not talking about the Holiday Season, though that is in the air as well. We're talking about Healthcare Season! For those of you who purchase your own health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) its time to renew your health insurance plan! For those of you who might be new to the ACA now's the time to get started!
The deadline is December 15th so get started now!
What is the ACA?
The ACA is a law that went into effect in 2010 designed to ensure more Americans could get health insurance. It does this in a few ways:
Plans must cover a set of preventive services like vaccines, preventive screenings, and visits to your primary care provider at no cost to you.
Requires coverage for pre-existing health conditions.
Created healthcare marketplaces where individuals can purchase healthcare at affordable rates.
Provides subsidies for those plans to keep consumer costs low.
Included a provision that that allowed states expand their medicare coverage. Medicare is the national health insurance program in the United States. It primarily provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older and people with disabilities, but was greatly expanded under the ACA.
You might have also heard some stuff about an "individual mandate" being recently repealed, but don't worry about that right now. It had very little impact on the law as it stands today.
How do I sign up?
Signing up for healthcare is really easy. Just go to www.healthcare.gov or call the number on their website. You can either go through the enrollment process online or over the phone. It really is that easy. The site will give you the plan options for Maine, and will explain how much of a subsidy you can receive based on your income. Subsidies are money the Federal government pays to reduce the cost of purchasing health insurance.
What about Mainecare?
Mainecare was expanded in 2018 making it available to more people, but the income guidelines for Mainecare are still pretty strict. Still, you might qualify if you are unemployed or have been out of work for sometime. The sign-up process at Healthcare.gov will help you determine whether or not you are eligible for Mainecare. PrEP is covered by Mainecare so if you end up receiving Mainecare rest assured that it will be covered.
ACA And Will PrEP be covered by my ACA plan?
The short answer is there is not short answer! What we can tell you is that more and more insurance plans are seeing the light when it comes to PrEP, and are offering coverage. You can find a link to the NASTAD PrEP price calculator on PrEP207's resources page. This will help take the guess work over of PrEP coverage by helping you estimate the out-of-pocket cost of PrEP with ACA plans.
As always, the PrEP207 team is here to help. So if you have any questions contact us via our 207-553-PrEP (call or text) or through prep207.org.
Here are some other resources to help you find healthcare coverage:
Healthcare.gov - This is the ACA's main enrollment website. You can do the enrollment online or over the phone.
NASTAD's PrEp Cost Calculator - A great resource that helps you compare PrEP coverage across plans. Works state by state to help you get the best coverage.
PrEP207's Resource Page - More PrEP resources on our resource page. Check it out!
Consumers For Affordable Healthcare - Got a tricky healthcare question? These folks are the healthcare experts in Maine. Call or email them.
Main Access Immigrant Network - Want to know more about how your immigration status might impact your healthcare choices? Contact Main Access Immigrant Network for help.