ACA Brings Options to People with Diabetes

LM Head shotToday’s guest blog comes from LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH, the Managing Director of Public Policy and Strategic Alliances for the American Diabetes Association.

November is American Diabetes Month® and, during this important time, the American Diabetes Association is continuing its efforts to Stop Diabetes® by challenging Americans to live a healthier lifestyle through the America Gets CookingSM to Stop Diabetes® campaign. A big part of living a healthy lifestyle means having access to adequate and affordable health insurance, and November also marks the beginning of the 2015 open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Last year, the Health Insurance Marketplaces, created by the Affordable Care Act, opened for business, improving access to health insurance for individuals and families and making coverage more affordable. Since January 1, 2014, people with diabetes, and all those living with a chronic disease, now benefit from insurance protections and new coverage opportunities they may never have had access to before. No longer can health insurance companies deny coverage or charge more because of a pre-existing condition. The end of this discrimination and improved access to coverage helps those living with diabetes receive the care they need to manage and treat this disease and its potentially devastating consequences.

Between Nov. 15, 2014 and Feb. 15, 2015, individuals and families can shop for and purchase a plan within the Health Insurance Marketplaces available in every state. People who meet certain income requirements - and who do not qualify for affordable job-based health coverage or certain other types of coverage – are able to get financial help paying for a plan purchased within their state Marketplace.

Before open enrollment starts, people who are already enrolled in a plan purchased through a Marketplace should get a notice from their plan about the opportunity to renew their coverage.  It’s important to remember that the open enrollment period provides a new opportunity for individuals and families to compare other plans available to them to make sure they are enrolled in the plan that best suits their needs and to contact the Marketplace to make sure they are receiving all the financial assistance they qualify for.  

Whether selecting a plan and enrolling, or trying to figure out if you qualify for financial assistance to purchase a plan in the Marketplace, there are trained people called “Navigators” and other assisters who are available to help individuals understand their coverage options and the enrollment process. If you or someone you know needs help, contact your state Health Insurance Marketplace for more information about this free individual assistance.

The American Diabetes Association is committed to improving the lives of all people with diabetes, and keeping people up-to-date with educational resources on the Health Insurance Marketplaces and other Health Insurance Updates.