When can I sign up?

Open enrollment began on Oct. 1, 2013. If you al­ready have health insurance, such as through your job, you may not need to sign up. But, you must have a certain amount of health insurance. Otherwise you risk being fined. This fine will get bigger over the next few years. For application deadlines visit HealthCare.gov.

What will my options be?

You will be able to pick from plans that have differ­ent premiums, copays, deductibles, and coverage. Different plans will work with different providers. Make sure your provider is “in network” if you want to keep seeing him or her. Also, check the plan to make sure your medicines will be covered.

How do I sign up?

Go to www.healthcare.gov to learn about plans in your area and to sign up for a plan. Or, you can call 800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These resources can also help you find out if you can get financial help with your plan or a tax credit. You may get lower costs if you don’t smoke and if you try to keep a healthy weight.

What information will I need to sign up?

Use the following Marketplace Application Checklist before you apply for coverage:

  • Gather Social Security numbers (or document num­bers for legal immigrants) for all members of the family
  • Collect employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage (for ex­ample, from pay stubs or W-2 forms – Wage and Tax statements)
  • Gather policy numbers for any current health insur­ance plans covering members of your household
  • Collect information on employer based insurance including the amount of lower premium for the em­ployee and the plan’s share of the total allowed costs (e.g. 80/20)
  • Know how much you are able to spend on premiums. Set a budget.
  • Ask questions: Will I be able to see my current physi­cian? What does co-pay and deductible mean? How much will I have to pay for care?

 What kind of benefits will I get?

All plans will, at least, cover the following:

  • Outpatient care
  • Emergency services
  • Hospital care
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance abuse care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lab work
  • Prescription medicines
  • Wellness services
  • Pediatric care

Plans will also give you some services for free that prevent illness. You will not be charged a copay or deductible for these. Birth control that requires a prescription will also be available for free. Here are some of the free services:

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Depression screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Diet counseling
  • HIV screening
  • Vaccines for adults
  • Tobacco use screening
  • Mammograms for women
  • Cervical cancer screening for women
  • Osteoporosis screening for women