The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The act requires all citizens to have health coverage starting in 2014. On October 1, 2013 open enrollment began for residents to get affordable medical coverage through Health Insurance Marketplace or New Medicaid.
The “Get Covered Illinois” website is the starting place for Illinois residents looking for coverage. Questions answered by the applicant on “Get Covered Illinois” will sort the user and direct them to one of two sites: Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) or Health Insurance Marketplace.
The important date to know is December 1, 2013. If an applicant is hoping to have coverage start on January 1, 2014 it will be important to complete the application before December 1, 2013. The “Get Covered Illinois” FAQ section suggests having the following information available for reference when applying: Social Security number, employer and income information, tax information (examples of documents that have this information include a social security card, paystubs, W-2 forms and other tax forms).
Word is that the Health Insurance Marketplace website still has some glitches, and can run fairly slow. Applicants may find it frustrating to stare at a screen asking them to wait for an undetermined amount of time. A trick to use is to take a breaks from looking at the screen while waiting. Grab a glass of cider, go pet the dog, fold some laundry or text some friends while waiting for the computer to do its thing. It may also help to apply during off-peak times.
Open enrollment for Health Insurance Marketplace ends on March 31, 2014. If the deadline is missed even by a day, it may delay coverage for up to a month.
Also of note, it’s my understanding that for young adults that aged out of foster care with Medicaid benefits, those medical benefits will now extend until the young adults reach age 26. Again, these young adults are expected to start the application process at the “Get Covered Illinois” site but should be directed to Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) to apply for coverage.
If the process seems confusing or an applicant would like further support, it is possible to seek help from “In Person Counselors, Navigators, and Certified Application Counselors.” On the main page of the Get Covered Illinois website, there is a place where applicants can enter their zip code to “get help in your area.”