“With as many as 1.8 million uninsured in Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is mobilizing its resources across the state to help people better understand insurance coverage options and the financial benefits that may be available to them under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
There’s four key points about this year’s open enrollment period that people need to be aware of:
Enrollment Timeline: The enrollment period to sign up for affordable healthcare coverage through the state’s www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov insurance marketplace is only half as long as the last year’s, so it’s important to act quickly to determine your options. Open enrollment for Illinois begins November 15, 2014 and endsFebruary 15, 2015;
Auto-Enrollment: People who already signed up for coverage through the marketplace last open enrollment can choose to take no action and will be automatically re-enrolled in the same or similar plan;
Check Your Plan, Know Your Options: Automatic renewal of ACA policies ensures enrollment for the next year, but it does not guarantee that the plan or monthly bill will be identical;
Subsidy Check: Those receiving financial assistance should update their financial and dependent information with the federal government by December 15 in order to ensure they receive the appropriate financial assistance.
“No one plans to get sick or injured, but if they do, it can lead to very costly medical bills. Health insurance provides valuable financial protection,” said Donna Gerber, vice president of public affairs and community investment for Blue Cross. “Because there’s only half the enrollment period of last year, it’s important to consider your options early on, to ensure access to quality health care, as well as avoid potential tax penalties.”
BCBSIL is continuing its education efforts to the uninsured, and that includes valuable information about possible financial assistance that is available for many residents.
Who may qualify for financial assistance:
Individuals with incomes below $46,680
Couples earning less than $62,920
Families of four with an income under $95,400
Families of five with an income under $111,640
Those are just a few examples of who may qualify for federal assistance. About 67 percent of Illinois’ uninsured non-elderly are eligible for federal subsidies to help cover the cost of their health insurance.
In addition to financial assistance, other benefits of the ACA include:
Guaranteed Coverage: No one can be turned away – or be charged higher premiums – for preexisting conditions.
No Annual or Lifetime Limits: Plans no longer apply annual or lifetime limits on coverage.
Preventive Care: Immunizations, cancer and diabetes screenings, developmental and behavioral assessments for children, well-woman visits and more are covered at no out-of-pocket cost.
Essential Health Benefits: All plans include 10 essential health benefits, including emergency services, prescription drugs, mental health, pediatric care, and more.
BCBSIL is here to help you better understand your options under the Affordable Care Act. The company will have Mobile Assistance Centers on Wheels beginning onNovember 15th, with a stop that day at the Ford City Mall at 7601 S. Cicero Ave.,Chicago. A full list of dates and destinations will be available beginning that day by visiting www.HealthDestinationIL.com, or, for Spanish speakers,www.DestinoSaludIL.com.
BCBSIL has also expanded its Customer Service hours beginning November 1, with Customer Advocates available 7:00am -10:00pm 7 days a week, and as of Dec. 1st, call centers are open 24/7. Have a question about health coverage? Call 847-426-2788, or visit: www.erikseninsurance.com
ABOUT BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF ILLINOIS
With 7.9 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, aMutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Begun in 1936 in Chicago, BCBSIL remains member owned rather than publicly traded, and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities, fostering greater access to care, and working to lower the overall cost of care while improving the health care quality and patient outcomes.