The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

St. Joseph Regional Health Network promotes awareness of new Health Insurance Exchanges


Friday, September 27, 2013

The much-discussed health insurance exchanges, a key part of the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as ‘Obamacare’) legislation, go into effect Oct. 1 and St. Joseph Regional Health Network has joined with Enroll America to ensure that the public is ready.
“Our intent is to help people know that now is the time for them to learn about the health insurance exchanges and that no one who is eligible is left out, left behind, or on the sidelines of the marketplace,” explains St. Joseph Vice President of Mission and Ministry Sr. Janet Henry. “We are committed to making our patients and communities aware of their new rights to health care and ensuring they know how to enroll and obtain coverage.”
St. Joseph is providing information on its website (www.thefutureofhealthcare.org), in English and Spanish, about the exchanges and the important things people should know and do as part of the network’s collaboration with Enroll America, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to maximizing health insurance enrollment.
The emphasis of St. Joseph’s outreach effort is on explaining that with the Health Insurance Exchanges, also known as Health Insurance Marketplaces, starting on Oct. 1 eligible individuals, families, and small businesses will be able to go to one place to search for health coverage options, to get accurate information in easy to understand language, and to make ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons before they make a plan choice. People will be able to find health plans on the Marketplace that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, and that they cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Coverage starts as soon as Jan. 1, 2014.
Pennsylvania will have a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange. St. Joseph Patient Access staff are working to understand the products that will be offered so “we can provide ‘at the elbow’ assistance to patients so they understand the plans and how to shop for and get the best care for their money,” Sr. Janet noted. “For us, that also means helping the public to understand that their healthcare dollar goes farther at St. Joe’s.”
Sr. Janet notes that the health care law is already making a difference and listed the following numbers to date since the law’s enactment:
• 3.1 million young adults have gained insurance through their parents’ plans.
• About 105 million Americans have had lifetime limits removed from their insurance coverage.
• More than 6 million people with Medicare received $5.7 billion in prescription drug discounts through 2012,
• And $2.1 billion was returned to consumers in 2011because their health plans did not spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on care or quality improvements.
The exchanges are aimed at helping people gain access to insurance coverage that fits their budgets and meets their needs.
Provided by St. Joseph Regional Health Network.