Affordable Care Act

As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplaces began on Tuesday, October 1, with coverage beginning as soon as Wednesday, January 1, 2014. Health Insurance Marketplaces are one-stop shops for consumers to research, compare, and purchase comprehensive health insurance plans, but currently, less than 25% of Americans are aware that marketplaces exist.

Providing good information to help patients make informed decisions about their health care is something you do every day, and it’s what you can do now to help make sure your patients are aware of their options.

People who are unaware of the ACA implementation run the risk of not being ready for enrollment deadlines and are likely unaware of the new services and benefits.

Health Insurance Marketplaces offer:
  • Low cost coverage options
  • Comprehensive plans with essential benefits.
The ACA’s changes for 2014 mean:
  • Plans can no longer deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions
  • People without health care coverage will have to pay a fee.

Primary care physicians and other health care professionals have the opportunity to help patients understand and navigate the changing health care landscape by discussing the insurance options that are available through the marketplace.

In August, the AAP developed and distributed state-specific fact sheets linking parents and families to their state’s marketplace and answering a series of questions about what to look for in an insurance plan. The AAP also developed fact sheets to educate pediatric practices that might benefit from the law’s small business health insurance options. All of these can be found on www.aap.org/ACAmarketplace. On www.healthychildren.org/ACAmarketplace (also in Spanish), parents can also learn about how to navigate the new marketplace and better understand how insurance works.

Additional information about the ACA and the new marketplace can be found at Healthcare.gov.