Welcome to National LGBT Week of Action for Enrollment! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House, Out2Enroll and partners across the country and New York State are collaborating this week to reach uninsured LGBT people and get them enrolled in health insurance for 2016. The deadline to apply for coverage that starts January 1 is next week, December 15.
Members of the Health Care For All New York (HCFANY) LGBT Task Force are providing culturally competent enrollment assistance for LGBT New Yorkers, helping them apply for coverage through the NY State of Health Marketplace. These Task Force members include the Community Service Society, Callen Lorde Community Health Center, the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan and its partner in Queens, Voces Latinas, GMHC and Make the Road New York.
The National LGBT Week of Action for Enrollment celebrate the immense progress for LGBT health policy over the last few years since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HHS LGBT Issues Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs Kathy Greenlee and Wanda Jones took the opportunity this week to launch the 2015 HHS LGBT Annual Report and described new potential efforts to require electronic medical records systems to collect information on gender identity, sex assigned at birth and sexual orientation by 2018. Other exciting advancements include (1) proposed regulations implementing section 1557 of the ACA will bar discrimination against LGBT people in health care coverage and access, (2) a proposed Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) National Coverage Determination Criteria Guideline for transgender medical care services, and (3) efforts to institute data collection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force is working hard on many of these same issues at the state level. The Task Force has provided LGBT cultural competency training to more than 150 Navigators across the state so they can better serve LGBT people who want to apply for coverage. The Task Force also advocated for issuance of state policies requiring coverage of medically-necessary care that transgender people need by both private insurance and Medicaid. Listening sessions have been helping the Task Force and state officials identify needed follow up action to ensure compliance with these transgender coverage policies.
Want to learn more about coverage for yourself or an LGBT loved one? Contact the Community Health Advocates hotline at 888-614-5400, or visit the NY State of Health website to learn about your coverage options, which include the new very low-cost Essential Plan.
The December 15th deadline to enroll in health insurance starting January 1, 2016 is fast approaching. To make sure you don’t have a gap in coverage, log on to the New York State of Health Marketplace today! You can shop around and compare plans to see which is right for you and your family.
If you need help enrolling or renewing your coverage you can call the Community Health Advocates helpline at 1-888-614-5400, or visit an in-person assistor in your community.
You may be eligible for the new Essential Plan, which includes high quality coverage for $0 or $20 per person per month. There’s no deductible, very low copays, and optional vision and dental coverage too. Many low- and middle-income New Yorkers between the ages of 19 and 64 will qualify.
If your New Year’s resolution includes getting or staying healthy, don’t wait to enroll! It will also help you avoid the tax penalty, which is rising to 2.5% of your family’s yearly taxable income or $695 per person (whichever is higher) this year.
The health insurance enrollment process can be overwhelming. Take a look at these entertaining videos on health insurance literacy for navigators, assistors, and consumers brought to you by Cover Missouri, a project of the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). They touch upon major issues and questions that you may encounter during the application process such as what questions to ask when you are on the phone with your carrier, common misconceptions of the Affordable Care Act, and how to find a primary care provider.
Check them out on YouTube:
The time to enroll or renew your coverage on the NY State of Health (NYSOH) Marketplace is just a few days away! Nearly 2.6 million people have enrolled in the Marketplace since its launch in 2013. We can continue to make progress by making sure more New Yorkers get enrolled and those who are covered maintain their coverage.
How it works and what you can do:
- Visit the Marketplace and look at available options – even if you are satisfied with your current coverage. The Marketplace continues to change, and this year you may find a plan that better suits your needs.
- See if you qualify for the new Essential plan for low- and moderate- income New Yorkers. You could get comprehensive coverage for yourself and your family for $0 or $20 per person per month!
- There are options to make the process of enrollment or renewal easier. You may go online and search through the Marketplace, call the Community Health Advocates helpline at 1-888-614-5400, or visit an in-person assistor in your community.
A few important dates for new enrollees:
- The Third Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, 2015, and continues through January 31, 2016.
- To get coverage that begins January 1, 2015 you must enroll by December 15, 2015.
- For coverage starting February 1, 2016 you must enroll between December 16, 2015 and January 15, 2016.
- For coverage starting March 1, 2016 you must enroll between January 16, 2016 and January 31, 2016.
For returning consumers, the re-certification period begins on November 15, 2015:
- To make sure you do not have a gap in coverage, you must renew your coverage between November 15, 2015 and December 15, 2015 for coverage that begins on January 1, 2016.
If you miss the re-certification deadline, your coverage stop after December 31, 2015 and you will not be insured for a certain time period:
- For coverage that begins on February 1, 2016 you must renew your coverage between December 16, 2015 and January 15, 2015 (coverage gap is 1 month).
- If you renew your coverage between January 15, 2016 and January 31, 2016, your coverage will begin on March 1, 2016 (coverage gap is 2 months).
Make sure to get coverage to stay healthy and avoid the increasing tax penalty. Remember, the penalty for not being covered is rising to the greater of $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18) or 2.5% of your family yearly taxable income in 2016!