Sept. 23, 2013
This week, TMA’s
“Hey, Doc” education campaign answers Texans’ questions about where they can
get help signing up for coverage in the new health insurance marketplace, when
they can create an account, and how they can get ready to sign up.
Please feel free
to use the content in its entirety or as a basis for a story. We have physician
experts standing by to answer your questions. In fact, every Wednesday, TMA
will post a new video featuring TMA Board of Trustees Chair Carlos “ ‘Hey Doc’
” Cardenas, MD, answering questions about the Affordable Care Act. Check out
our first installment. You can find the videos and a
lot more information at HeyDoc.texmed.org.
second week of “Hey, Doc” education programming
I get help signing up?
using the official marketplace website Healthcare.gov to apply for health
insurance, the federal government has created ways for you to get live and
You can call a
toll-free number, (800) 318-2596, and talk to a trained customer service representative and get help
languages. Online chats are also available.
Another way to
get assistance is through community health centers. Texas has more than 60
centers where you can get help with information and enrollment. Here is a list:
You can also
search for a “navigator” in your community by calling (800) 318-2596 or by
going to Healthcare.gov. Navigators are organizations like a local United Way
branch that the federal government has funded and trained to help you. The
navigator will guide you through the process of selecting a health plan that’s
right for you,
figuring out if you qualify for tax credits or state programs, and preparing
your electronic and paper applications. Here’s a list: www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Health-Insurance-Marketplaces/Downloads/navigator-list-8-15-2013.pdf
Be Covered Texas
also hosts local events to help families learn about the marketplace plans and
programs and enroll right then and there.
Both the federal
government and Be Covered Texas have Facebook, email, and texting campaigns
that you can sign up for to receive updates on the marketplace and reminders of
I create an account at the marketplace?
though you can’t sign up for insurance through the marketplace until Oct. 1,
you can go online now to Healthcare.gov to create the account you will need to
enroll. You’ll start by going through some basic steps like providing your
name, address, and email address to create a username and password, and
entering information like whether you are eligible for insurance through your
employer. You can always call (800)
318-2596 with questions, too.
How can I
get ready to sign up?
have some decisions to make and important information to gather to sign up for
health insurance coverage when the marketplace opens on Oct. 1. But there are a
few things you can do now to get ready so it’s not so overwhelming.
- Learn about different types of health coverage so
you know what kind of plan fits you or your family.
- Make a list of questions you may have before it’s
time to choose a plan, such as whether you can keep your current doctor.
- Make sure you understand how
coverage works, including things like premiums, deductibles, and
copayments. This will help you determine what you have to pay and when. Healthcare.gov and
BeCoveredTexas.org have helpful glossaries you can use to decipher these
and other insurance terms.
- Gather information about your household income, for
example, pay stubs, W-2 forms, or tax returns. You will need this
information to determine what kind of plan you may want, and whether you
qualify for tax credits or public assistance. When you enroll, you will
also have to provide information on any insurance you currently have, such
as policy numbers and employer coverage.
- Set your budget.
- Ask if your employer plans to offer health insurance
coverage in 2014. If not, you may have to find insurance through the
marketplace or other sources.
You can find
this information and more at MeAndMyDoctor.com and HeyDoc.texmed.org.
is TMA’s “Hey, Doc” content schedule through Oct. 30, 2013. We have content in
the works through January 2014.
Get Help, When to Sign Up
What exactly is this marketplace, and why should I care?
Where can I get more answers?
Where can I find out more about the marketplace?
Sept. 25: Where
can I get help signing up?
When can I create an account at the marketplace?
How can I get ready to sign up?
Sept. 30: When
can I sign up?
How do I sign up?
Can/Must enroll? Who Doesn’t Have to? What Are the Penalties?
Who can enroll?
Oct. 14: Who must
If I have insurance through my work or my spouse or my parents, do I have to
give that up and buy insurance through the marketplace?
Does the individual mandate mean I have to buy health insurance through the
Who can sell me this insurance?
How do I pick a plan?
How many plans can I pick from?
Can I keep the plan I have now?
Oct. 28: What is
covered by this insurance?
TMA is the largest state medical society in
the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student
members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies
around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of
Contact: Pam Udall
cell: (512) 413-6807
Contact: Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting and timely news on health care issues and policy.