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Coping with Cancer: Supportive and Palliative Care

  • Posted: 09/13/2013

Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act

The health care law known as the Affordable Care Act changes how health insurance works in the United States, with implications for the prevention, screening, and treatment of cancer.

For example, beginning in January 2014, insurance companies

  • cannot turn you away or charge you more because you have cancer or have had cancer in the past (pre-existing condition)
  • must cover certain preventive services (such as some cancer-related screenings, genetic tests, and vaccines) with no copay or deductible
  • must cover some costs of prescription drugs under individual and small-employer plans

The Affordable Care Act also requires that most Americans have health insurance by January 2014. If you don’t have it by then, you may have to pay a fee.

Need to Find Insurance?

For those who do not have health insurance or who want to look at new options, the Health Insurance Marketplace has been created for you.

The online Health Insurance Marketplace lets you compare health plans in your state. These plans will be offered by private companies. Options will vary by state, but every plan will cover a core set of benefits. You’ll be able to compare plans based on price, benefits, quality, and other needs you may have.

You may qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums or out-of-pocket expenses. You’ll also learn whether you qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Here’s where you can go for more information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • Healthcare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov – learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace and your new coverage options. The websites also offer a live chat option.
  • Experts are available to talk with you in English, Spanish, and many other languages.
    • Call toll-free: 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)

Open enrollment for Health Insurance Marketplace plans begins on October 1, 2013, and closes March 31, 2014. Coverage may begin as early as January 1, 2014.