If you bought health insurance last year or early in 2014 through the Affordable Care Act and are thinking about making a change OR if you need to buy health insurance for the first time, you can do that now. The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called ObamaCare, is open until February 15, 2015. In California, the agency that manages health insurance is called Covered California. Their website is www.coveredca.com.
The website can help you figure out how much each plan will cost you and if you will get a discount because of the amount of money you make each year. For some basic information about the Affordable Care Act, here is a short video from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The video describes the law and how to find out about the best plan for you. It explains the differences between terms such as “co-insurance” and “co-pay” and explains questions that you need to ask and possible problems that you need to be aware of. For example, think about if you want to pay a lot each month for the premium or do you want to pay a lower premium and have a higher deductible, the amount you have to pay before your insurance starts paying.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made 11 short and easy to understand videos that give more information about what to ask and how to get started. They talk about confusing words and help you think about important questions to ask when you are buying insurance and when you are looking for a doctor.
Another way to get information is from Consumer Reports. They made 1-page handouts that explain some of the difficult parts of choosing which health plan is right for you and how they differ from each other. If you still have questions, we recommend going to an information session at one of the libraries. Currently you can find an information table at Evergreen Branch Library on Mondays at 2 p.m. It’s likely that other branches will offer information tables as well. If you want to be able to start using your new insurance on January 1, the deadline to apply and send in your first payment is December 15, 2014. Good luck in making the right decision for you about health insurance.