CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period begins November first. On Friday, healthcare advocates with WV Navigators, West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare and the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy held a conference over Google Hangouts to offer insight in how and why West Virginians should apply this year.
Speakers, early in the conference, recommended those who want to enroll should exclusively shop on HealthCare.gov
“These plans are the ones that must offer a few things, the ten-ish essential benefits and protections from pre-existing conditions are two of the big things for consumers,” said Dr. Jessie Ice, Executive Director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.
Those ten essential benefits are prescription drug coverage, pediatric services, annual preventative wellness checks, screenings, immunizations and vaccines, emergency services, hospitalization, mental health and addiction services, pregnancy, maternity and newborn care and lab services. According to Dr. Ice, those plans listed on healthcare.gov are required to provide all those services
Dr. Ice also offered insight into the Texas v. California, the case expected to be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States on November 12th that could strike down the ACA in its entirety.
“What this means for open enrollment this year and for health insurance through healthcare.gov for 2021 is nothing, it does not effect our options this year. It does not effect, if you were to sign up on the marketplace, your coverage for 2021," said Dr. Ice. “You are signing into a contract that will cover you for the entire year regardless of what decision comes down from the Supreme Court.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and with many people losing their jobs and their healthcare, Kelly Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, says this is the most important year of the ACA in West Virginia since its inception.
“Most of the West Virginians who have been impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for low-cost or no-cost health insurance,” said Allen
She recommends using West Virginia Navigators to help understand what you are eligible for and how to apply. Representatives from WV Navigator say they can be reached at 1-844-WV-CARES (982-8731)
“If anyone has questions, whatsoever, please reach out to our program, West Virginia Navigator,” said Jeremy Smith, program director of WV Navigator.
Open enrollment for the ACA opens Sunday, November 1st and runs until Tuesday, December 15th.