It’s that time of year: Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment on Healthcare.gov. From now until January 31, 2017, Americans can elect to purchase healthcare coverage for 2017. And while there has been a lot of discussion about the cost of Obamacare for consumers, more than 70% of consumers will be able to find an insurance plan on the Marketplace that will cost them less than $75/month.
“Thanks to financial assistance, most Marketplace consumers this year will find plan options with premiums between $50 and $100 per month,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Millions of uninsured Americans qualify for financial assistance, and so could as many as 2.5 million Americans currently paying full price for off-Marketplace coverage. I encourage anyone who might need 2017 coverage to visit HealthCare.gov and check out this year’s options for yourself.”
In early 2016, the share of Americans without health insurance fell to 8.6 percent, the lowest level in our nation’s history. This year’s Open Enrollment offers the chance to build on that progress and further improve access to care and financial security. And even better, Open Enrollment instructions and guidance are available in fifteen different languages.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act and Diverse Elders, download our Open Enrollment infosheet.
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 Marketplace. In fact, American Indian/Alaska Native Americans who are members of federally-recognized tribes are not restricted to open enrollment periods and can enroll year round!
For more information about the ACA from the Diverse Elders Coalition and our member organizations, check out the Health Reform page on our website. And if you have stories of enrolling in coverage or how that coverage has impacted your health, share it with us through our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.