Guest Commentary: Get ready, get set, (re)enroll

Yes, it is that time of year again. Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace just began, which means it is time for Arizonans to “get ready, get set and (re)enroll.”

Here’s what we recommend:

Diane Brown

Diane Brown

Get ready: Know your health insurance options and rights. So You Need Health Insurance. Now What? (available at arizonapirgedfund.org/healthinsurance101) cuts through rhetoric and political noise and provides a list of health insurance options and rights as well as useful health insurance terminology.

Get set: To enroll or re-enroll in health insurance you will need to answer a few questions. Among the most helpful items to prepare: pull together your medical and financial information from the last year. If  you prefer to retain your doctor or hospital, find out what plan(s) they are associated with for the upcoming year.

Get (re)enrolled: Whether you are uninsured or have coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, it is time to enroll or re-enroll. If you choose to undergo the process yourself, you will notice Healthcare.gov has improved.

Most notable: streamlined navigation and a new “Out of Pocket” expense feature that helps consumers better estimate the “full” cost of health insurance including premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

Allen Gjersvig

Allen Gjersvig

If you are like most people we encounter, you wouldn’t mind a bit of help navigating the various health insurance plans that exist before you make your decision. The good news is that free certified and licensed in-person help is available. The other good news is that about eight of 10 Arizonans received financial assistance to help pay for their health care last year. In fact, 86 percent of shoppers last year could have purchased a plan for $100 or less per month.

The Cover Arizona coalition, comprised of over 900 community and statewide organizations is spearheaded by St. Luke’s Health Initiatives. The coalition educates and assists Arizonans applying for coverage, across the state at more than 500 locations, in at least 30 languages, including nights and week-ends. Arizonans can schedule a free in-person appointment to enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace or AHCCCS, Arizona’s Medicaid program, at coveraz.org/connector or by calling 1-844-790-4946 (English and Spanish).

As you get ready and get set to (re)enroll, it is important to remember the Health Insurance Marketplace offers private, competitive insurance. Plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace change each year so it only makes sense to shop just as you do with other products in the “marketplace.”

Editor’s note: Ms. Brown is the executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. Mr. Gjersvig is the director of Navigator and Enrollment Services for the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers.

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