Next Tuesday marks the kick-off of one of the most critical aspects of the federal 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” On October 1, Connecticut will begin the state’s “health care exchange” which stands to change the way Connecticut residents obtain health care insurance. Connecticut’s version of the health care exchange, named “Access Health CT,” is an online marketplace that allows individuals to directly compare rates and coverage from multiple plans offered by multiple companies.
Since this marketplace will impact many of Connecticut’s residents, here is some useful information about this new and complex process and how it could affect you.
1. What is the health care exchange?
One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is that every state is required to set up a health care exchange by the start of 2014. This exchange is a means of bringing together private insurers and a governmental insurance program, creating an online marketplace or virtual “insurance store” for health care. Access Health CT, the official name of the state’s new health insurance marketplace, will serve as a resource for individuals, families, and small businesses to purchase health care coverage from health insurance companies and public health care programs.
2. How can you enroll through the exchange?
The first enrollment will begin on October 1st and ends on March 31, 2014. Each year there will be a new enrollment period. The process can be started through the Access Health CT website at www.AccessHealthCT.com. Starting on Tuesday, the system is open to any of the nearly 350,000 Connecticut residents who are still uninsured. Those who do not have health insurance will start facing federally mandated penalties in 2014.
3. Who qualifies for assistance or CT health insurance programs?
On the Access Health CT website, residents can check to see if they qualify for assistance or public health care programs. Residents can also compare health insurance plans as well as start an application to apply for a plan or a program.
The new health insurance exchange will begin offering insurance to Connecticut residents on Tuesday, October 1st. For more information, visit the Access Health CT website at www.AccessHealthCT.com.