On Tuesday, the Obama administration unveiled a simplified application for health insurance benefits as part of the federal health care overhaul.
Details released today include a three-page short form for single people to fill out. Officials are saying the form is simpler than the 1040EZ income tax forms we now have to wade through every year.
An earlier draft of the application did not meet with a favorable response, making officials worried that uninsured people would give up in frustration. Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner, also overseeing the rollout of the health care law, called it “significantly shorter than industry standards.”
The application form for families is another story you may not want to hear. It run twelve pages long, but most households won’t have to fill out every single page.
The Affordable Care Act will take on added significance because many Americans still don’t fully understand what the healthcare overhaul will mean to them. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday found that 4 in 10 people are unaware it’s the law of the land. It will be necessary that information on the Affordable Care Act is made available to everyone before the end of the year.
For those people who just can’t wait to wade into the new forms, they will be available on October 1 of this year, coinciding with the opening of the new insurance markets in every state. Most people with job-based health insurance won’t have to bother with the forms, only the uninsured.
According to the law, middle-class people who don’t have health insurance through their jobs will be able to buy private insurance. Most will be able to get tax credits based on their income that will make the premiums more affordable. Low-income uninsured people will be steered toward government programs, such as Medicaid.
Eight months from now, on January 1, 2014, the new benefits will begin, and 30 million uninsured Americans are expected to eventually have healthcare coverage.
Because you cannot be turned down because of a preexisting illness, there will be no questions about your health. Instead, expect a number of inquiries about income, and they mean all sources of income. You will need tax returns, pay stubs, and other financial records. It wouldn’t hurt to start gathering the information needed now, or over the next few months, to save getting frustrated at doing everything at the last minute.
Administration officials are expecting most people to apply online. They will be directed to either private plans or Medicaid programs. Using a federal “data hub,” Identification, citizenship and immigration status, as well as income details, will be verified in as close to real time as possible by pinging Social Security, Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service.
For more detailed information on the new insurance marketplace and helpful information on filling out the application, go to: http://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/about/index.html.