October 2, 2013

Milwaukee Courier

Legislatively Speaking: Enroll for Obamacare

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began on Tuesday, October 1 for coverage beginning January 1, 2014. Because of the ACA, the 90% of Wisconsinites who have insurance have stronger coverage and more choices than ever before. And for the 10% of Wisconsinites who don’t have coverage, an abundance of opportunities will become available upon enrollment.

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama in March of 2010. The ACA is a comprehensive health reform law that makes preventative care – including family planning and related services – more affordable and accessible for many Americans.  The ACA eliminates many of the difficulties of finding and keeping affordable insurance, as well as the discriminatory practices used by the insurance industry. 

For persons considering enrolling with the ACA, there are four key messages to keep in mind. First, plans cannot deny applicants for pre-existing conditions or cancel a person’s policy due to illness. Second, all plans will be required to cover doctors’ visits, hospitalization, maternity care, ER expenses and prescription medications. Third, plans will be required to show costs and what is covered in plain and simple language, making it easier for enrollees to choose a plan that best meets their needs. And finally, applicants may be eligible for financial aid. 

Over the past none years, health insurance premiums have increased more than 113% for small business owners, forcing many employers to reduce or even eliminate this vital employee benefit.

Here in Milwaukee, the Common Ground Health Care Cooperative is a newly formed non-profit health insurance company dedicated to providing insurance for individuals, small businesses and non- profit groups at affordable rates. Common Ground is a non-partisan, community based organization of small businesses, congregations, non-profits, colleges and labor unions in Southeastern Wisconsin.

To learn more about the ACA and how to enroll, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov.

To learn more about Common Ground, visit: www.commongroundhealthcare.org.