Affordable Care Act
In November, health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act will open for enrollment in states throughout the country. These marketplaces will act as one-stop-shops for health insurance, allowing individuals and families to compare, apply for, and enroll in a healthcare plan all in one place. Access to these marketplaces will be available online, over the phone, and in person at physical offices.
The Marketplace, You, and Your Family
A primary goal of these insurance marketplaces is to ensure healthcare is affordable and easy to access for all Americans. Family Equality Council urges you to review your options and to enroll. While seeking healthcare through these marketplaces, LGBTQ individuals and their families should know:
- Discrimination in the marketplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited. Insurance providers and navigators – consumer assistant agents whose job is to help guide potential enrollees through the marketplace – are legally prohibited from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals.
- Plans include coverage for the diverse needs of LGBTQ individuals and their families. Options for coverage will cover doctor visits, hospitalization, emergency services, and more.
- Coverage for same-sex partners or families with LGBTQ parents is available. In many states, same-sex partners and LGBTQ-headed families will be eligible to enroll in family plans. In states without this option, these families will be eligible for tax credits to cover the costs of purchasing a plan.
- No one may be denied coverage based on a pre-existing health condition. For example, you cannot be denied coverage based on a chronic illness or disease, HIV status, prior pregnancy, or receiving or having received transgender-related care.
- Financial assistance is available to help individuals and families afford coverage. Depending on you or your family’s income, tax credits and subsidies may be available to assist in purchasing healthcare coverage.
How to Re-enroll for Existing Plan Holders
For individuals and families who purchased insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 2014, re-enrollment is automatic. Those wishing to change their pre-existing plan have a limited periodto do so – generally, about a month – or they will be automatically re-enrolled in their previous plan.
Even if you are satisfied with your current coverage, we urge you to research and compare available plans again this year. New coverage options may be available that will better serve your family’s particular healthcare needs, and your 2014 plan may have changed in cost, scope of coverage, or availability. Researching coverage options is the only way to ensure that you and your family have comprehensive and affordable healthcare coverage.
For detailed information about plans or to enroll, go to www.healthcare.gov and select your state of residence.
How to Enroll for the First Time
Comparing, applying for, and enrolling in health care coverage in the marketplaces is simple. You can find plan information and enroll online, via phone, or in person beginning in November. Open enrollment continues through February of the following year.
For more information on how the Affordable Care Act and the insurance marketplaces benefit LGBTQ-headed families, see Family Equality Council’s resource guide “The Affordable Care Act and LGBT Families: Everything You Need to Know.” You can also access additional LGBTQ-specific guidance and plan information at Where to Start, What to Ask: A Guide for LGBT People Choosing Health Care Plans and www.out2enroll.org.