Basic Rights Oregon is collaborating with Cover Oregon, Strong Families, Q Center and Cascade AIDS Project to spread the word about the new healthcare marketplace that started October 2013, with coverage beginning January 2014. This transition can be confusing at times, so here is some basic information to give you a clearer understanding of what it means and how you can get signed up.
The Patient Protection/Affordable Care Act a.k.a. The ACA or Obama Care
The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 by President Obama to give new requirements for health insurers, which will provide better care.
- This means EVERYONE, regardless of pre-existing conditions, is eligible for healthcare.
- It provides financial assistance to help individuals pay for premiums (monthly payments) so you can receive better care for a lower cost.
- Medicaid has expanded eligibility requirements to give more people access to no-cost healthcare through Medicaid.
So… What’s this “Cover Oregon” thing I keep hearing about?
Cover Oregon is what the state of Oregon created to carry out the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act. It is an online website (or “marketplace / exchange”) where you can log on and look at a bunch of different coverage options and compare plans side-by-side to see which ones have what you need.
Important things to know:
- People who were previously denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions or are under-insured are now eligible for more comprehensive plans at a lower cost.
- Cover Oregon has trained application assisters to work at different organizations (like Cascade AIDS Project), who will walk you through the application process and answer questions free of cost.
- Individuals who are currently on OMIP or PCIP must get covered by new insurance before December 15, 2013, as these programs are ending.
But where do you start? How do you evaluate plans? What kind of coverage do you need? How do you know the providers are LGBT friendly? How do rules about family coverage apply to LGBT families?
Strong Families set out to make the process a little easier, so they created Where to Start, What to Ask: A guide for LGBT people choosing healthcare plans. This guide provides a template for the questions one should ask Navigators, certified application counselors, or insurance brokers to get answers about cost and coverage, reproductive healthcare, transgender healthcare, finding insurance if you are HIV+ or living with AIDS, covering LGBT youth, and many other LGBT specific health needs.
Knowing what to ask is the first step in getting the right healthcare plan for you and your family.
How Do I Sign Up?
Cascade AIDS Project is working with Cover Oregon to assist people in Oregon’s LGBTQ community in signing up for health insurance. CAP has a team of Certified Cover Oregon Application Assisters who are ready to answer questions and walk you through the process of signing up for healthcare. This service is free and open to all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or ability to pay.
To contact an Application Assister to schedule an appointment, call CAP’s HIV/STD Hotline at: 1-800-777-AIDS (2437) or contact them via email.