On October 1, despite the government shutdown, the health insurance marketplace opened in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The marketplace is a collection of private health insurance plans offered through state exchanges. Individuals who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid and are not provided insurance through their employeróor whose employerís insurance is inadequate or unaffordableócan join their stateís exchange and select the best plan for their situation, with coverage starting as early as January.
For many Parkinsonís patients, the health insurance exchanges and other improvements implemented through the Affordable Care Act will have a great impact. Visit the Parkinsonís Action Network site for a broader explanation of these changes.
Here are a few highlights, which apply to all insurance, not only those obtained through the exchanges:
- Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, such as Parkinsonís disease (effective in 2014)
- Annual coverage limits are eliminated so you wonít have to pay out of pocket once you hit a maximum amount (effective in 2014)
- Lifetime coverage limits also have been eliminated (effective in 2010)
- Essential benefits, including wellness services and depression screening, are now provided at no direct cost (effective in 2011)
- If you choose to participate in clinical trials, your insurance company cannot deny coverage for related services and cannot drop or limit your coverage because of research participation (effective in 2014)
- Prescription drug coverage must be offered for at least one medication in each drug class and many states will offer more than one in each class (effective in 2014)
For more information on prescription drug coverage, tax credits to help with insurance coverage and what the plans will look like, visit the Parkinsonís Action Network.
Visit your stateís health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov.