ACA “Marketplace” comes to campus

As part of a nationwide push to insure the uninsured and to improve the cost and accessibility of American insurance in general, the Cognosante Enrollment Assistance Program ran a table in Warch at which people could fill out a Health Insurance Marketplace application on Tuesday, Jan. 7 and Thursday, Jan. 9.

The Cognosante Enrollment Assistance Program aims to simplify information so that people can choose health coverage that works best for them.

The Health Insurance Marketplace was launched at the beginning of October 2013. The main purpose of it is to make buying health coverage simpler and more affordable. The plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies. A large goal of the Cognosante Enrollment Assistance Program in using the Marketplace was to ensure that those with pre-existing conditions would be able to find affordable insurance plans more easily than they would be able to before.

In addition to private insurance plans, exploring the marketplace allows people to check their eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Marketplace comes as a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which aims to make insurance more affordable and accessible to Americans. Some of the major goals of the Act include helping keep citizens informed about insurance options, ending pre-existing condition exclusions for children and keeping those citizens under 26 covered under parental insurance plans in certain circumstances.

Those stationed at the table assisted those interested in learning more about the Marketplace as well as helping those who wished to find health coverage.  At the table, along with the volunteers, there were laptops so that those interested could explore different health insurance options and sign up on Tables such as this one have been set up in many public spaces, including libraries and bowling alleys, in an attempt to reach as many people as possible.

Enroll America is a non-partisan organization that has the goal of increasing the number of uninsured Americans who sign up for health care made available by the ACA.

It was reported that for the most part, people who signed up for or received information about healthcare were faculty, staff and a few community members. Student feedback was minimal. It was suggested that this was due to many students being covered by the insurance of their parents and therefore not needing any additional insurance.

To be eligible for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, applicants must live in the United States, be a U.S. citizen or national and they cannot currently be incarcerated. This push to get people insured is furthered by a new tax, which imposes a fee of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or 1% of income, whichever is higher. Those already eligible for job-based insurance are able to sign up for a marketplace plan, but there may be higher costs depending on income level.

Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace ends on March 31, 2014. Those interested in applying are able to do so online, with a paper application, over the phone or in person with a qualified helper.