Affordable health coverage is only a click, call or visit away – until Monday

March 28, 2014 

If you or someone you care about does not have health care, it’s not too late to sign up for quality affordable coverage, but you’ll want to act today. The deadline to get insurance is Monday. After that, you’ll have to wait until November to sign up.

Many of the people I’ve met have told me they were surprised at just how affordable marketplace insurance can be. Six out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less – some a lot less.

In Raleigh, a family of four earning $50,000 a year can get covered for as little as $62 per month. A 27-year-old earning $25,000 can get covered for as little as $84 per month.

Security and peace of mind are just a click or call away. You may even find that you’re eligible for assistance to lower the cost of your premium.

You can sign up 24 hours a day, seven days a week at HealthCare.gov (which is working smoothly) or at 1-800-318-2596. You can even get in-person help in your own community: Just visit localhelp.healthcare.gov and punch in your ZIP code. If you are a Spanish speaker, you can access our Spanish language website at CuidadoDeSalud.gov and you can get in-person help in Spanish, too.

So don’t delay! Join the 6 million Americans who have already signed up for a plan and the millions more who’ve learned they’re eligible for Medicaid for this year.

Let me tell you about one of these people. At 29, Kathryn Robison of North Carolina is a grad student, part-time worker and the primary caregiver for her grandmother. But juggling all of those activities never helped her afford health insurance. She worried constantly about staying healthy for her grandmother.

When she finally went to Healthcare.gov, she found more than just an insurance plan; she found peace of mind. Kathryn is now covered for just $52 a month, and she no longer has to hesitate to see a doctor. She feels confident that she can take care of herself – and her grandmother.

Before the Affordable Care Act, hardworking families in Raleigh had few real options. Even if you worked hard and took responsibility, you could still have the rug pulled out from under you if you or someone in your family got sick, had an accident or experienced another hardship. You could pay your premium dutifully every month, only to have your insurer refuse to pay for care when you needed it most because you hit an annual or lifetime cap in coverage expenses.

But today, in Raleigh it truly is a new day. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there is choice and competition. In fact, you can now choose from 28 qualified health plans. Before the Affordable Care Act, many consumers had few if any real choices.

Unlike the old system, once you enroll, nobody can take your coverage away just because you get sick. And your insurance company can’t charge you more just because you are a woman; being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition!

What’s more, by law, insurance companies now have to cover health services like doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, ambulatory care and hospital stays. Preventive care like cancer and cholesterol screenings is covered with no additional money out of your pocket.

But if you don’t enroll by Monday, you won’t get this security that comes with a marketplace plan – and you can’t enroll again until this fall.

The good news is that security for you and your family is only a click or call away.

Kathleen Sebelius is the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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