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The Health Insurance Marketplace Has Reopened For 2022 Enrollment… and we’re here to help.

The team at HealthPlanOptionsToday will help you get the plan you need.

When Is Enrollment For Obamacare Plans?

Have you been wanting to switch to an Obamacare/health insurance marketplace health insurance plan?

If you live in an eligible state (some states have their own health insurance marketplaces), then the time to enroll is now. Open enrollment began November 1, 2021 and ends January 15, 2022.

If you would like coverage that begins on January 1, 2022, the time to enroll is now- you have until December 15 to enroll.

Thanks to the global pandemic, enrollment periods have opened and closed at irregular times throughout the last two years. However, the 2022 enrollment period marks a return to the typical year-end enrollment process.

How Can I Sign Up For Health Insurance?

The team at HealthPlanOptionsToday.com is standing by and ready to help with all your healthcare enrollment needs, including Obamacare/Healthcare marketplace plans.

Just give our team a call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions, listen to your needs, and help you select a plan that’s perfect for you.

Give us a call today at 888-375-8879, or click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you with more information.

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You Should Think About Using Your Health Insurance’s Mental Health Services

Mental health is no longer the taboo topic that it once was, and thanks to changes in health insurance law, mental health care is now more accessible than ever.

If one thing has changed in American healthcare over the last 10 years, aside from the emergence and acceptance of the Affordable Care Act, it has been our society’s increased acceptance of mental health services as an important part of healthcare.

Health Insurance For Mental Health

In decades past, mental health support was seen as something taboo, and was probably joked about in movies and tv shows more than it was taken seriously. Many people saw mental health services as something for “rich people” and “crazy people”, and in reality, these services were out of reach for most people. Mental health professionals were hard to find, and many health insurance plans did not support mental health services, so people had to pay out-of-pocket to access these services, making them unaffordable to much of the population.

The Laws That Changed Everything
Biden Signs Executive Order for ACA
President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in office in the early 2010’s. “Obamacare” marked a major national shift in access to mental health services.

In 1996, access to mental health coverage began to shift with the introduction of the Mental Health Parity Act. The Mental Health Parity Act, or MHPA for short, and its later relative, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, stated that employer-sponsored health insurance had to include mental health coverage, and insinuated that health insurance companies should treat mental health coverage as equal to other parts of medical coverage.

These laws proved to be a double-edged sword. On the positive end, they did help provide mental health benefits for people who did not have access to it before. The drawbacks were that there was no protection for those who had mental health issues as a pre-existing condition, so insurance companies could use mental health screenings as a reason to deny people. Also these laws did nothing to cover the millions of low-income people who didn’t have health plans, who (statistically speaking) were likely to be more in need of mental health services.

The Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act was introduced in 2010, it marked an even greater shift in the way Americans could access mental health care. At the time, the opioid crisis was peaking in America, and treatment was now seen as the morally correct way to address the issue (as opposed to jail time). A wide-ranging solution was needed.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act provided a worthwhile solution. Mental health support was one of Obamacare’s original “10 essential services“, meaning that all health plans on the public healthcare marketplace had to include coverage for mental health services, and people could not be denied for pre-existing mental health issues. In addition, Medicaid and Medicare began covering mental health services as well. This was important because it set a precedent for health plans outside of the public marketplace to do the same in order to remain competitive. That being said, even 10 years later, mental health support is one of the most underused parts of health insurance.

What Type of Mental Health Services Does Health Insurance Cover?

Although the cost and extent of support available varies by plan, there are certain services that must be offered by every plan under the Affordable Care Act standard. They are as follows:

  • Behavioral Treatment (for example psychotherapy and counseling):
    • Outpatient individual counseling or group therapy sessions
    • Diagnostic services such as psychological evaluation and testing services
    • Ongoing outpatient treatment, including medication management and psychiatric treatment programs
  • Substance abuse (also known as substance use disorder) treatment:
    • Outpatient diagnostic and treatment services for chemical or alcohol dependency
    • Medical services for withdrawal symptoms, such as inpatient detoxification services
    • Substance use disorder recovery services, including counseling and educational resources
  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
    • Mental health care if you’re admitted to a psychiatric facility.
  • Additional provisions for preventative care
    • There are preventative care services in the ACA that pertain to mental health, such as depression and alcohol abuse screenings.

Once again, this is just a baseline; it is best to check with your health insurance provider to see exactly what services are provided via your plan.

Do You Need A Health Insurance Plan That Covers Mental Health Services?

If you think you need mental health services and don’t have health insurance, don’t fret. HealthPlanOptionsToday can help you find a plan that will get you started on the road toward wellness. Call us at 888-375-8879 for more information, or click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you.

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The Health Insurance Marketplace Is Now Open

Millions of Americans are able to take advantage of the current special enrollment period, which lasts through May 15, 2021. Here’s what to expect out of Obamacare in the near future.

With one stroke of his pen, President Biden changed our country’s access to healthcare. On Thursday, January 28, 2021, after less than two weeks in office, the Biden-Harris Administration issued two executive orders that spurred a series of initiatives that will strengthen the American health care marketplaces.

President Biden’s two executive orders directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reopen Healthcare.gov, which is the health insurance marketplace enacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)- more popularly known as Obamacare. These executive actions established a special health insurance enrollment period from February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021, which would allow tens of millions of uninsured Americans in 36 states to secure an affordable health insurance plan. HHS has pledged to spend $50 million on outreach campaigns that encourage uninsured individuals to visit Healthcare.gov to explore their coverage options, complete unfinished applications, and enroll in a health plan.

Access to quality healthcare is a prevalent issue in this country that affects millions of Americans across geographic, racial, and social boundaries. These healthcare-related executive orders represent the commitment that the Biden-Harris Administration made in the American Rescue Plan to expand and protect Obamacare coverage, meet the growing healthcare needs created by the pandemic and strengthen healthcare services offered by federal agencies.

The Directive’s Changes to Obamacare and Medicaid

Although this special enrollment period is the only action specified by President Biden’s executive order, these directives place the spotlight on federal agencies. When it comes to Medicaid and the ACA, Biden called for federal agencies that interact with these programs to reexamine (1) the policies that limit healthcare protections of individuals with pre-existing medical conditions under the Affordable Care Act, (2) the practices that make Medicaid eligibility difficult, (3) the practices that create barriers to enrolling in Medicaid and ACA, (4) the policies and practices that increase insurance premiums for policyholders and dependents.

While the President’s order doesn’t go into detail and provide specific insight into what actions Medicaid, HHS and their corresponding federal agencies should take, this order is likely to reverse several policies established by the previous administration. It’s clear that the Biden-Harris administration is taking a powerful stance on Medicaid Policy and preparing to reestablish Medicaid as a foundational part of the Affordable Care Act, especially during the pandemic where millions of Americans have lost their jobs and can no longer afford health insurance.

Insuring and Ensuring Women’s Health

A significant part of Biden’s executive order was his nationwide presidential memorandum that sought to protect women’s health and reproductive rights. In this memorandum, Biden rescinded aggressive policies established by the previous Administration that modified women’s access to a variety of healthcare services, and also expanded other services that pertain to women’s reproductive health and sexual health.

How Does The Health Insurance Marketplace Reopen Affect Me?

Do you have health insurance? In the last year, millions of Americans were laid off due to the pandemic and subsequently lost their healthcare insurance, and due to hardship, unfortunately did not get Cobra insurance after losing their job. Fortunately, Biden’s executive orders give uninsured individuals additional time to enroll in Medicaid or find affordable comprehensive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Can I Buy Health Insurance That is Not Obamacare?

Many people wish to seek out other insurance options outside of Obamacare and aren’t sure where to start. Out team at Health Plan Options Today specializes in helping people explore their healthcare insurance options to get health coverage that is perfectly suited for their budget and their needs. Our experts are standing by to help you! Click the button below or call 1-888-375-8879 to start discussing your insurance options.

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Experts Discuss Biden’s Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Extension

Health Insurance Experts share what they think President Biden’s new executive order means for uninsured Americans.

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order designed to address the impact COVID-19 has had upon Americans’ ability to access healthcare. President Biden’s order reopened the health insurance marketplace for a special enrollment period, and also encouraged all government agencies to review their health insurance policies. 

According to reports from the Commonwealth Fund research group, nearly 7.7 million Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone, and many others have lost their coverage since then. In contrast, a relatively small number of those people have signed up for COBRA or new health insurance, meaning that millions of Americans are newly uninsured during the greatest health crisis our country has ever seen. Public health analysts believe that disparities like these could combine to create an even worse healthcare crisis than we’re already facing, and agree this is likely at least part of the reasoning beyond Biden’s executive order.

“…nearly 7.7 Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone.”

– Commonwealth Fund Report: “How Many Americans Have Lost Jobs with Employer Health Coverage During the Pandemic?”

Health insurance experts at Health Plan Options Today who work directly with the uninsured have given their take on Biden’s executive order and whether they think it can help the uninsured masses. 

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance- especially considering today’s financial condition- so they often see no way out”, said William G, a representative at Health Plan Options Today. “Of course, this isn’t the case, and we’ve been doing our best to educate people to the contrary. Hopefully the President’s executive order causes people to take another look at health insurance so they can get covered”.

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance… Of course, this isn’t the case”

William G. HealthPlanOptionsToday Healthcare Expert

Stephanie A., another representative at Health Plan Options Today, says there are other major issues that have shaped people’s ideas of access to health insurance, especially given the United States’ unemployment rate: “Many people have no idea how COBRA health insurance works, and a lot don’t even know it exists in the first place. They just think that if they lose their job due to COVID, there are no other insurance options available.” Stephanie echoes William’s optimism for Biden’s Plan: “I really hope that the people who lost their jobs and didn’t take advantage of COBRA use the special enrollment period to their advantage.”

Overall, there is generally support for Biden’s executive order, especially considering 2020’s historically short marketplace insurance enrollment period and low enrollment numbers. Many people who missed the original enrollment period will now have a second chance at enrolling for ACA-based plans in 2021. Perhaps William G. summed it up perfectly: “I think we can all agree that no matter what, a second chance is always nice.”

Are you insured? To get your own second chance at affordable health insurance, fill out the form below and one of our agents will contact you, or call us at 1-888-375-8879.

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