The Health Insurance Marketplace is Coming: Enrollment starts October 1, 2013

July 15, 2013

Neil Bomberg

No doubt you've been hearing about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, a key part of the health care law. But you probably still have questions like: What is the Marketplace? Can it really help my constituents get affordable health insurance? What does it mean for small businesses in my community? Well, here are some answers.

Starting this fall, the Marketplace will help people find health insurance that fits their budget, with less hassle. No matter where they live, they may qualify to buy insurance from private health plans that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospital visits, and prescriptions. In the Marketplace, plans must treat people fairly and can't deny someone coverage because of pre-existing or chronic conditions.

The best place for the latest, most accurate information about the Marketplace is HealthCare.gov - where people can learn about the Marketplace, what's covered, who can get health insurance, how to get health insurance, and more. If they own a small business, there is information for them at HealthCare.gov, too.

People can also get information about Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and savings they can use right away to lower their monthly health plan premiums. They'll see all the programs they're eligible for right after they apply. And assistance will be available online, by phone, and in person to help individuals enroll in new coverage.

HealthCare.gov is the best source for information about the Marketplace. People can read information relevant to them and their situation, watch videos, and print checklists to help them get ready when it's time to apply and enroll on October 1.

Opportunities for Cities

Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace begins on October 1st. But how many people and small businesses the Marketplace helps will ultimately be determined by how successful our education and sign up programs are.

As a trusted community leader, you will be essential to the success of Marketplace enrollment efforts. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) needs your help in your cities and communities - both reaching out now to build partnerships and educate stakeholders, and enrolling people in the Marketplace starting October 1.

Many of you are already engaged in conversations about the health care law, but over the next few months, we're going to need you to take these efforts to the next level. HHS is committed to working together and supporting your efforts, so tell HHS what you need and what resonates best with your communities.

Over the next year, we have a historic chance to help millions of people - and HHS can't do it without you. They need your help.

Additional Resources

HealthCare.gov is the destination for the Health Insurance Marketplace. Americans may access new educational information and learn what they can do to begin to get ready for open enrollment this fall. The website will add functionality over the summer so that, by October 1, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans. It's that simple.

As your constituents explore options in the Marketplace, they may have questions or need help. If they're on HealthCare.gov, they can take advantage of the web chat feature. They'll get instant access to someone who can talk them through the process or answer their questions.

No computer? No problem. There will be people in local communities who can give personal help with their choices. And they can call 1-800-318-2596 now, and talk to a trained customer service representative in 150 languages about the Marketplace.

Get the latest resources for you to help people apply, enroll, and get coverage in 2014 at http://marketplace.cms.gov/

For technical Marketplace information, please visit www.CMS.gov/CCIIO

For press materials, please visit www.hhs.gov/healthcare

For a state by state analysis of the immediate benefits of the Affordable Care Act please visit http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/bystate/statebystate.html

If you have questions or want to get involved contact your HHS Regional Office, http://www.hhs.gov/iea/regional