The Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act passed into law over four years ago, it was easy to forget what it was supposed to do for us. Now, the difference it is making is overwhelming. Open Enrollment began on October 1st. Since then over 11,000 New Hampshire residents have enrolled in an insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and twenty-two percent of those enrollees are between the ages of 19-34, just like you.

With the Open Enrollment deadline of March 31st rapidly approaching, now is the time to take action. Are you covered?

Having health insurance is not only a good idea, it’s the law. People who don’t have insurance by the end of March could face a penalty when they file their taxes for 2014. Wondering what this means for you?

Why do you need insurance?

You work out and rarely get sick. Why do you need insurance? Well, because accidents can happen to anyone. The average cost of visit to an ER is $1,233, and if you’re admitted to the hospital you can tack on $2,220 per day. Fractured rib? $12,000. Torn ACL? $9,220. It’s not just health insurance. It’s bankruptcy insurance. Two million bankruptcies, JUST THIS YEAR, are due to unpaid medical bills. Still think health insurance is a superfluous monthly expense? Okay, so you don’t have a house or a car to lose but wouldn’t it be nice to have someday? Not a chance with that credit history.

The truth is, young adults need health care. We have the highest rate of injury-related ER visits among all age groups. One in ten of us report having a mental health condition. Fifteen percent of our age group has chronic conditions. And, for the ladies in the crowd (hey ladies!) – we make babies. Delivering a healthy baby in a hospital costs a minimum of $9,000.

And if you do get sick, studies show that having access to health care can speed your recovery rate, meaning you bounce back to your work and play more quickly.

The ACA means you have access to comprehensive, affordable health insurance.

Robin, a 29 year-old from the Keene area, hasn’t had insurance since she graduated from college. Her job doesn’t offer insurance, so she shopped on the Health Insurance Marketplace and found a comprehensive plan for $53 dollars a month. She makes less than $45,000 a year so she qualified for a tax credit that helped bring down the cost of her monthly premium.

In fact, “up to 33,000 currently uninsured 18-34 year-olds in New Hampshire could be eligible for new tax credits at the health insurance marketplace,” which could help bring down the cost of coverage. People with annual incomes of less than $29,000 might qualify for extra help with lower out of pocket expenses, like co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance.

If your income is above these ranges, you can still shop in the Marketplace and find competitive rates.

The ACA means you have freedom from “job lock” – so you don’t have to stay at a crappy job just for the insurance benefits.

Kate, 28, lives on the Seacoast and hates. her. job. She has stuck with it for the health insurance, which has helped her with her new diagnosis of celiac disease. Kate has learned that if she quits her job, and subsequently loses her employer-sponsored insurance, she will have the ability to purchase coverage through a “special enrollment period” in the Health Insurance Marketplace. This means she can pursue her new passion of baking gluten-free treats for resale while working part-time to pay the bills, since she will still have access to health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The ACA means you can access preventive services and mental health benefits.

The new law requires plans to cover preventive services at 100%, so your yearly wellness exam with your family doctor and woman’s wellness visit are no-cost. All plans must also help pay for mental health care, like seeing a therapist.

This was a relief for Jared, a 34 year-old from Manchester. He has been successful in starting his own business, but the stress of working for himself has been getting to him. He found a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace that will allow him to see a counselor for the first time.

The ACA made it possible to stay on your parents insurance until you are 26.

This makes the post-college-facing-the-real-world transition a little bit easier.

Oh, I convinced you? What should you do next, you ask?

Start by visiting www.healthcare.gov or by calling the Health Insurance Marketplace at 800-318-2596. Hurry!  You’ll miss the boat if you don’t act before March 31st (unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. Learn more here.)

ppnne

Still confused? You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is one of New Hampshire’s Certified Navigator Organizations. That means it’s our job to help you find coverage that fits your lifestyle and budget. Call 866-476-1321 or visit www.ppnne.org to get started.

MeganDonovanMegan Donovan recently relocated to New Hampshire from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, where the billboard-to-person ratio is 1:1. Before that she lived in Ohio, where she grew up surrounded by flat cornfields. She has enjoyed the ad-free and mountainous New Hampshire scenery as she pounds the pavement as a Certified Marketplace Navigator for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. She and her husband live near Keene with their dog.

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