November 1st marks the beginning of an open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace. From now until January 31, 2016, Americans can elect to purchase healthcare coverage from HealthCare.gov for 2016. (American Indian/Alaska Native members of federally recognized tribes can enroll in the Marketplace any time of year and are not subject to this deadline.) Additionally, eight out of ten people who enrolled in a healthcare plan through the Marketplace qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable.
Why do we at the Diverse Elders Coalition care about the ACA and open enrollment? Research shows that people of color, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and LGBT people deal with significant physical and mental health disparities. An older person’s poor health can represent the cumulative effect of experiencing a lifetime of discrimination. Without insurance, many people delay or forego care, which can exacerbate poor health.
Thankfully, the ACA prevents health insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions or a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. And new benefits for elders on Medicare improve access to preventive services and reduce prescription drug costs.
We encourage all of our community members who need access to healthcare to sign up for health insurance coverage through the ACA. Every year, the process of signing up for coverage gets simpler. A new Diverse Elders Coalition flyer is now available to offer information about the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace, and health reform. We will have this translated into additional languages soon and will share them on our Facebook and Twitter when the translations become available.
For more information about the ACA from the Diverse Elders Coalition and our member organizations, check out the Health Reform page on our website.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.