Estimates are that about 10 million people visited a Health Insurance Marketplace website on Tuesday, October 1. This caused some considerable delays because no one expected that many people. The technical problems are diminishing but if the website is slow, try 1-800-318-2596.
Open enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace lasts until March 31, 2014. No plans purchased on the Marketplace will begin actual coverage until January 1, 2014. Any plan purchased on the Marketplace before December 15 will start coverage on January 1, 2014.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch has set up a website that allows you to search for policies by county, with price data included. This site lists prices without subsidies. Everyone with an income between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level will get a subsidy. The website can give an idea of what is available and cost. For more information see: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/national-world/government-politics/virginia-s-health-care-options/html_68b9d324-2b80-11e3-a597-0019bb30f31a.html.
The website enroll-virginia.com is a great source of help in dealing with the new Health Insurance Marketplace. It has an interactive map to let you find people who can help you with the application process as well as some information on health insurance plans in your county. The site also has lots of information about health care reform. 1-888-392-5132 is the statewide phone number.
The new Health Insurance Marketplace has two sections, one for individuals and one for small businesses (the SHOP). While tax credits are available on both sections, they are not the same tax credits or valued the same. So some small businesses may benefit the most from the SHOP, while others may benefit the most from helping employees buy their own health insurance on the individual section of the Marketplace. It is worth it for small businesses (those wishing to help provide health insurance for their employees) to explore both the individual and the small business sections of the Health Insurance Marketplace, although a small business and its employees cannot benefit from the tax credits on both sections of the Marketplace.
The legislative committee that will decide when Virginia expands Medicaid is holding a public hearing on Medicaid expansion on Tuesday, October 15, at 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Building (House Room D) in downtown Richmond. Folks can also make public comments on the issue by going to http://mirc.virginia.gov/index.htmland clicking on the “submit a public comment button” on the left. The next regular meeting of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) will be Monday, October 21, 1:00 in the General Assembly Building.
The federal government is partially shutdown right now. Anti-health care reform legislators are refusing to approve a budget unless health care reform is stopped, or at least delayed. Currently the president and a majority of the U.S. Senate are refusing to go along with delay of elimination of health care reform. Some negative economic impacts are being seen but there is much worry about a similar fight over continuing to pay government creditors that will happen by October 17.
Virginia state elections will be held on Tuesday, November 5. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and the entire House of Delegates will be on the ballot, as well as local elections in some areas.
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