Affordable Care Act

In March 2010, a health reform law was passed called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "ObamaCare."  The law was created to make preventive care more accessible and affordable for Americans.  This law will take effect October 1, 2013 and requires everyone to have health insurance or face financial penalties.  Open enrollment starts October 1, 2013 for coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014.  Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

What is The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?  Below are listed some web sites intended to explain the law, and how it affects individuals:

  • 2014 In 214 Words - A quick introduction to The Affordable Care Act
  • HealthCare.gov - The official consumer website for Affordable Care Act provisions and benifits.
  • HHS.gov/HealthCare - General information on the new law, provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • The New Health Care Law and You - This useful 22-page brochure outlines the most commonly available health insurance options, including those provided by the Affordable Care Act, that will be available to individuals, as of October 1, 2013.  Includes explanations of many common but confusing health insurance terms.  Prepared by members of the Institute of Medicine's Health Literacy Roundtable.
  • AARP Health Law Answers - Answer a series of simple questions to find out how you could benefit from the Affordable Care Act.
  • AARP Health Law Fact Sheets - From the AARP's department of Education and Outreach.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation: Health Reform - News and information on the Affordable Care Act, from the website of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent organization concerned with health policy in the United States.
  • Read the Law - Read the full text of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • The Affordable Care Act, Medicad, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIPS) - How does the Affordable Care Act affect Medicad and the Children's Health Insurance Program? From the Medicad.gov website.

What is The Health Insurance Marketplace?

Follow the links to find answers.  Find out what the Health Insurance Marketplace is, how to enroll, what kind of plans are offered, and more!

Starting October 1, 2013, you can visit the official Illinois Marketplace, GetCoveredIllinois.gov.  Illinois residents will be able to choose high quality and affordable health insurance plans through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.  The Health Insurance Marketplace in Illinois is a work-in-progress.  Illinois is developing its own state-level Health Care Marketplace - 2015 is the target date for completion.  In the meantime, in partnership with the Fedearl government, Illinois residents will have access to the national Health Care Marketplace.

The national site, Healthcare.gov (En Espanol: CuidadoDeSalud.gov) also allows you to enroll in the marketplace, fill out an application and see plan choices and get other information and help.  This process will help you determine if you qualify, or can get lower cost coverage through Medicad or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)*.  All Marketplace plans offer the same set of comprehensive benefits.  They cover things like pre-existing conditions, pregnancy, hospitalizations, prescriptions, and doctor's visits.  Visit here for a list of what is covered.  *You can sign-up for Medicad or CHIP at anytime.

Insurance carriers participating in the marketplace include:

Aetna Life Insurance Company -                Aetna

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois -                Blue Cross Blue Sheild

Coventry Health and Life Insurance Company Coventry

Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc. -          Health Alliance

Humana Insurance Company and Humana Health Plan, Inc. -      Humana

Land of Lincoln Health Insurance Company -   Land of Lincoln Health         

Questions or to enroll via phone?  Phone the Health Insurance Marketplace

1-800-318-2596 Espanol, llame 1-800-318-2596 (TTY:1-855-889-4325)  Call this 800 number to get your Health Insurance Marketplace questions answered by a customer service representative, available 24/7.  On calling, you'll be welcomed to the Health Insurance Markeplace and asked to give your state, as some states have state-sponsored marketplaces.

Paper Applications

Paper applications can also be printed out from the CMS.gov website or below.

Mail your signed application to:

Health Insurance Marketplace

Dept. of Health and Human Services

465 Industrial Blvd.

London, Ky 40750-0001

In Person Help

The Kankakee County Health Department - The Kankakee County Health Department has dedicated staff available to answer questions about the new health insurance. If you need help, they can walk you step-by-step through the online application process and explain coverage options. For more information or to make an appointment, call the Kankakee County Health Department toll free at 1.855.216.9400 or go to Kankakeehealth.org. You can also visit the Healthcare.gov for more information.

Further Links related to the Affordable Care Act in Illinois

Get Covered Illinois - The official gateway to Illinois' Health Insurance Marketplace

Questions and Answers About the Affordable Care Act in Illinois - Frequently Asked Questions at GetCoveredIllinois.gov

Health Care Reform in Illinois: What It Means for You - News and information for consumers form Illinois.gov

Health Insurance: Illinois Department of Insurance - A collection of health insurance-related fact sheets for consumers, maintained by the Illinois Department of Insurance.

How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of Illinois - Background information form the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health Insurance Reform: Illinois Department of Insurnace - Useful information on the Affordable Care Act and other health insurance reform measures in Illionis.

Health Insurance Exchanges: Illinois Department of Insurance - Monitors the development of Illinois' Health Insurance Marketplace.

State Exchange Profile: Illinois - The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation report on the development of Illinois' Health Care Marketplace.

Marketplace Health Plans

For every plan, you will pay a monthly premium and out-of-pocket expenses when you receive services.  In general, the lower the premium, the higher the out-of-pocket costs when you need care; the higher the premium, the lower the out-of-pocket costs when you need care.  The way you pay your portion of these costs is through deductibles and copayments or co-insurance.

The Marketplace offers four categories of plans, plus a catastrophic plan:

  • Bronze plan: You pay 40% of your costs, the plan covers 60%
  • Silver plan: You pay 30% of your costs, the plan covers 70%
  • Gold plan: You pay 20% of your costs, the plan covers 80%
  • Platinum plan: You pay 10% of your costs, the plan covers 90%
  • Catastrophic Plan: Available up to age 30

The Process

Visit the Using the Marketplace and the Help Center for information on how to apply for coverage in the National Marketplace.  Below are the steps you will take to apply:

  •  Create an account - The first step is to provide some basic information.  Then choose a user name, password, and security questions for added protection.
  • Apply - Starting October 1, 2013, you'll enter information about you and your family, including your income, household size, and more.  Use this checklist now to help you gather the information you'll need.
  • Pick a plan - Next you'll see all the plans and programs you're eligible for and compare them side-by-side.  You'll also find out if you can get lower costs on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
  • Enroll - Choose a plan that meets your needs and enroll.  Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

Avoiding Scams

AARP - Provides warnings and helpful information in regards to avoiding being a victim of a scam