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ACA Health Insurance Marketplace Education and Enrollment Event

This Saturday Richland Library will host its second Health Insurance Marketplace Education and Enrollment event. What is the Marketplace? Well, I’m glad you asked. The Marketplace is where you would go if you’re looking for federally subsidized health insurance. You can think of it like a mall in which certain health insurance companies in your state compete for your business. In South Carolina, our Marketplace, or mall, has four health insurance companies:

1.       Consumers Choice Health Insurance Company

2.       Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina

3.       BlueChoice Health Plan

4.       Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas. Inc.

All health insurance plans will include the same essential health benefits. These benefits include things like: preventive care, doctor visits, hospitalization, prescriptions, maternity and newborn care and more. When you enter the Marketplace, you can shop for health insurance policies from all four companies at once. There will be side-by-side comparisons of each health insurance plan. This will help you to easily be able to compare everything from deductibles, to out of pocket maximums, to finding out if your plan covers eye exams for adults (all plans have vision and dental benefits for children).

Most importantly, the Marketplace is the only place where you can find out if you qualify for financial assistance from the federal government to help you pay for your new health insurance plan. These are often called premium tax credits or cost sharing subsidies. While, you are welcome to go directly to an agent for the health insurance company of your choice, unless you apply through the Marketplace, you cannot qualify for this financial assistance.

I recently met a single mom who works 30 hours a week at a well-known social service agency. She does not qualify for health insurance through work. After completing her application through the Marketplace she learned that she qualified for $205 of monthly financial premium assistance. This brought her monthly health insurance payment down to $30 with an annual deductible of $109 for one of the policies.

This Saturday, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at our Main branch we will have information sessions on the Affordable Care Act as well as federally certified assisters to help you enter the Marketplace and see what kinds of plans and benefits you qualify for. It’s a lot of information to take in at once, with a lot of choices. We at Richland Library have got you covered with the information and assistance you need to make an informed decision for your family before the March 31, 2014 health insurance deadline.

Need more tips to get ready for Saturday? Click here.

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