LGBT and the ACA

The information presented here was copied straight from the New Civil Rights Movement website. The views do not necessarily represent PFLAG National or PFLAG Family Reunion Detroit Chapter.

 

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

[Remember, if you are still having trouble logging onto the ACA website, there is a toll-free number you can call to enroll. Remember when we didn’t use websites as the default for everything?]

 

October 1, 2013
LGBT And Need Health Insurance? Need Help Paying For It? Here’s What To Do Now
Today, the ability to purchase health care insurance is extended to everyone in America, and yes, that includes the LGBT community. The Affordable Care Act, colloquially called Obamacare, may not be the universal single payer coverage we’d like to have, but it’s what we’ve got, so it’s important to know what’s in it, and how to get it if you need it.
So, if you are LGBT, before you go hunting for a policy, you should know that Obamacare:
  • Forbids any provider to refuse coverage, or charge a higher premium to an applicant because they are LGBT.
  • Forbids any provider to refuse coverage, or charge a higher premium because of a pre-existing condition, even HIV, or AIDS.
  • Forbids any lifetime caps on care – even for AIDS or mental health issues.
For the last six months, the Obama administration has made an outreach to the LGBT community to assure they will be able to easily access Obamacare. If you missed it, this message was posted on both the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Websites:
The Affordable Care Act helps LGBT Americans in four major ways:
  1. Protecting our right to access quality, affordable health insurance. Starting in 2014, the health care law prevents insurers from denying us coverage or charging us a higher premium because of a pre-existing condition or because we are LGBT.
  1. Removing lifetime dollar limits on coverage. That means that people with chronic diseases, like HIV/AIDS, cancer and mental health concerns, can get the care we need. And starting in 2014, all annual limits will be illegal, too.
  1. Promoting wellness by requiring insurers to cover preventive care at no additional cost. LGBT adults and teens can get screened by a health professional for HIV and depression without paying co-pays or deductibles. Other preventive services, like cervical cancer screening for sexually active women, obesity counseling for people at risk, and well-woman visits are also covered at no extra cost.
  1. Helping more LGBT Americans find affordable health insurance. Starting October 1, 2013, all Americans without insurance and those looking for better options will have a new place to shop for plans, the Health Insurance Marketplace, and may qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums.
 As of today, if you need insurance the Marketplace is where you start. Some states call them “exchanges”. It’s like Amazon for insurance.
About half the states have set up their own marketplace, but even if you live in an Obamacare-hating red state like Texas, you can still sign up through the federal Marketplace. You can find out what marketplace your state will be using by clicking here.
Once you are in the right marketplace, you will need to choose a policy. Here’s how from HHS:
You can apply for health coverage, compare all your options, and enroll in a plan in one streamlined application through the Health Insurance Marketplace. When open enrollment begins October 1, 2013, you can fill out your application and see the health coverage options available to you.
1. Create an account
First provide some basic information. Then choose a user name, password, and security questions for added protection.
2. Apply for Marketplace coverage
Enter information about you and your family, including your income, household size, and more. Use this checklist now to help you gather the information you’ll need.
3. Pick a plan
Next you’ll see all the health insurance plans and programs you’re eligible for and compare them side-by-side. You’ll also find out if you can get lower costs on Marketplace coverage.
4. Enroll
Choose a health insurance plan that meets your needs and enroll! Coverage starts as soon asJanuary 1, 2014.
If you need help with your Marketplace application, there are people trained and certified to help you understand your health coverage options and enroll in a plan in every state. And remember that you can contact us anytime by phone or live web chat for help with a Marketplace question.
This is important! If you are afraid you won’t be able to afford insurance, there is financial help available. When step #3 says: “You’ll also find out if you can get lower costs on Marketplace coverage.” It means you might be able to get a “subsidy” – federal help paying for your policy. There is no special form to apply for this, and no waiting period while someone decides if you qualify. It is all done online in one application, so don’t be intimidated. Just think about that moment when the Emergency Room clerk asks if you have insurance, and how much better it is to be able to say “yes”.
HHS has really tried to go the extra mile to make sure LGBT Americans in need healthcare insurance are able to get it. They have announced that on October 11, National Coming Out Day, they will launch Out2Enroll a partnership with Sellers Dorsey Foundation, and the Center for American Progress to help LGBT citizens get healthcare. You can sign up for anemail alert for the launch of Out2Enrolll October 11.
Last night on Jimmy Kimmel, he sent a camera crew out into the streets to ask passersby if they preferred Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act. Of course, they are two names for the same thing. While the results were hilarious – so many people who hated Obamacare were in favor of the Affordable Care Act – it also pointed out how much misinformation is floating around. Yesterday, my own son tried to tell me he heard his work was cutting workers’ hours to part-time so as not to have to offer them Obamacare, when the truth is, they are a union shop, and have long had to pay insurance benefits to employees working more than 20 hours.
If you need health insurance, don’t be misled by rumor and Republican trash talk to think Obamacare isn’t worth having. Go to the website and check out for yourself what coverage is available, and what subsidy you might be eligible for that will help you afford it. And above all remember, LGBT applicants have to be treated like anyone else. It’s the law.

 

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