Aaron Swaney helps Jeannie Wyble with her application for insurance through the online health marketplace at Family Health Center on Dec. 5, 2013. Wyble's application was stuck in "in progress" limbo for weeks.
Consumers who want to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act have until Monday to enroll in a plan that would start on Jan. 1. But HealthCare.gov still has kinks that frustrate many consumers and navigators. KBIA’s Harum Helmy followed one Columbia resident’s journey with the website.
Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy talk to Kate King, a navigator who's been helping with efforts of spreading awareness about HealthCare.Gov.
As an Affordable Care Act navigator, Kate King has been traveling to counties throughout central Missouri spreading awareness of and getting Missourians enrolled in HealthCare.gov.
King works with the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging, which serves a 19-county area, 17 of them rural. The agency is part of a nonprofit alliance that received $750,000 in federal grants in August to help with Healthcare.gov outreach.
If you're a 38-year-old Missourian living in Pemiscot County in the Bootheel, an Affordable Care Act "gold" insurance plan will cost you at least $418 per month, before subsidies. If you're a 38-year-old living in Kansas City, a similar plan will cost you about $263 per month.
Health insurers serving the individual and small group markets in Missouri can continue selling plans that would have been canceled by Dec. 31 for not meeting the requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act, according to the state's Department of Insurance.
Starting in 2014, all health insurance plans must include some services from all of the law's "10 essential health benefit" categories. The broadly defined categories include, among others: maternity care, behavioral health treatments, prescription drugs, laboratory services and preventive services.
Out of nearly 28,000 Missourians who have completed the applications for insurance through HealthCare.gov, only 751 so far have chosen insurance plans. The online marketplace, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, opened for enrollment on Oct. 1. Technological glitches made signing up nearly impossible in its first couple of weeks.
As the Affordable Care Act's provisions continue to roll out, the law will continue to affect our lives.
In Missouri, where the legislature still hasn't expanded Medicaid, 193,000 adults will fall in what’s called the “coverage gap.” These adults aren’t eligible for Missouri’s current Medicaid program (which doesn’t cover any able-bodied adult without children, no matter how low his or her income), and they make too little money to qualify for any subsidies that can help them pay for insurance premiums through the online health marketplace.
KBIA needs your help in personalizing the stories mentioned above. Would you share with us your experience with the Affordable Care Act? Fill out the form below. We won’t publish your name or story without your permission.
The Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplace has its problems, but the service also has potential to help improve rural health. Jon M. Bailey, the director of rural research and analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs, went as far as putting it this way:
“The new health insurance marketplaces were practically created for rural people.”
Starting Oct. 1, anyone looking to purchase health insurance plans can enroll in the new online marketplace. A key component of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace has been touted as a totally new way to buy insurance. You, the consumer, can go to the marketplace website and do a side-by-side comparison of the benefits, premiums and coverage of different insurance plans.