Obamacare Open Enrollment Begins Today [VIDEO/AUDIO]
If you are one of the 900,000 in New Jersey without health insurance, today is the day you can start signing up for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
So, what do you have to do?
There are a number of ways you can find out which plan is best for you and your family. Your very first stop should be to the healthcare.gov website. There are valuable links and resources there along with full information on what plans are available. You fill out some questions and get back answers immediately.
President Barack Obama's comprehensive health reform plan was signed into law over three years ago. This is a long time coming, says Jeff Hall, with the Center For Medicare-Medicaid Services.
"This is an excellent opportunity for those without insurance to find a plan they can afford and get the services they need. We are asking that only people who need it, enroll and if you have Medicare or Medicaid, don't sign up. This is for people without insurance only."
"When you go to the healthcare.gov web site, you're going to see different types of coverage for each plan -- say like covering 60 percent to 90 percent of your health care costs. You can choose it. Be sure to select New Jersey and answer the questions truthfully and accurately," he explained.
Coverage for the plans begins in January of next year. The open enrollment process will end on March 31st, 2014.
"There's a toll free number too if people choose that route," Hall added.
That number is (800) 318-2596.
There will also be several marketplace centers opening up around the state.
You can apply for Marketplace coverage three ways: online, by mail, or in-person with the help of a Navigator or other qualified helper. Telephone help and online chat are available 24/7 to help you complete your application.
The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties located in Neptune is one of the navigator sites as is Ocean Health Initiatives with offices in Lakewood, Toms River and Manahawkin.
In Ocean County, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be at the County Connection to provide assistance to residents who are enrolling in Affordable Health Care Marketplace Health Insurance programs.
That assistance will be available on upcoming Fridays: October 4, October 11, November 1, November 8, December 13 & December 20; and Tuesday, November 26. All from 10 a.m. - 12 noon.