June 16, 2014
From Coverage To Care
By: Diverse Elders

A message from Cara James, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

We are excited to tell you about From Coverage to Care: A Roadmap for using your new coverage

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans who recently obtained health coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, or Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), From Coverage to Care materials can help answer questions you might have so you can make the most of your health coverage. Resources are available at marketplace.cms.gov/c2c. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Understanding your health care coverage: Make sure you start by knowing how your health plan or coverage works. Become familiar with the services that are covered and how much you’ll have to pay. You can also learn what any new terms mean and how they apply to your coverage.
  • Using Prevention to stay healthy: Your coverage is designed to serve you beyond just getting sick. At regular check-ups, you can ask questions on the steps you can take to become healthier. After all, prevention is a critical part to staying healthy – and under the Affordable Care Act, many preventive services are covered with no copays or additional costs.
  • Understanding Primary Care vs. Emergency Care: You’ll visit your primary care provider for both routine check-ups and when you feel ill. When you are feeling extremely sick or are in a life-threating situation, you’ll visit the emergency department. You may pay a higher copay or coinsurance for emergency care visits.
  • Following up after Appointments: Remember that good care doesn’t stop when you leave your provider. Make sure you follow your health care provider’s instructions, schedule your follow-up appointments, if needed, and fill any needed prescriptions.

If you have questions about your new health care coverage, contact your insurance company directly or contact us at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Our trained representatives are available at the Marketplace Call Center 24 hours a day 7 days a week if you need help. If you have questions about your Medicaid or CHIP coverage, you can contact your state agency directly for more information. If you have questions about your Medicare benefits, you can contact us at 1-800-MEDICARE.

Cara James, Ph.D., is the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.