Affordable Care Act

Clinic Health Beat

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The Affordable Care Act

The next phase of the Affordable Care Act, enrollment of the uninsured into insurance plans, is set to begin on October 1. The Act is much in the news these days, as the legislature debates funding of the plan, but it is unlikely that the next phase will be delayed at this point.

Many people are not aware that portions of the Act have already been enacted, beginning in 2010 with the ability of parents to continue to carry children on their insurance until they are 26 years old. A number of other parts of the Act have also been implemented over the last three years. For a timeline of the Act, see www.healthcare.gov/timeline-of-the-health-care-law/

The Act includes the concept of "health insurance exchanges" – groups of insurers who have agreed to sign people up for plans that meet the reqirements of the law (for instance, preventive care with no copay) for reasonable premiums. One aspect of the law is the idea that if everyone is insured, the risk is pooled and cost comes down overall.

Oregon began preparation for a health insurance exchange even before 2010, and they are one of the states that are ready to go on October 1. The exchange will help people decide what insurance will be right for them. In addition, more people will be enrolled in Oregon's Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan. Insurance coverage actually begins January 1, 2014.

If you are uninsured, we encourage you to visit Oregon's health insurance exchange website, CoverOregon, at www.coveroregon.com as soon as possible on or after October 1, 2013, in order to see what their options are, and to get signed up for insurance!