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Today, I visited Tampa, Florida to join in the final effort to enroll people in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. During this open enrollment period, I’ve visited nine communities to talk with people about the importance of getting affordable, quality health care coverage for themselves, their families, their friends, and their neighbors. Many of my visits were to predominantly Latino communities, where uninsured rates are high and the need for coverage is great.
As we near the end of the enrollment period on Sunday, I’m thinking about the many people who have worked so hard to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act and who have helped so many people get enrolled. During my stops in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois, I have been privileged to see just how powerful the work of our local communities has been in getting people the health care they need.
I was honored to be standing side by side with the city and state officials who organized events to focus attention on open enrollment. I also want to recognize the incredible work of so many volunteers who guided people through the process day after day and mobilized their communities. Millions of Americans now have the quality and affordable coverage they need, so that if they have to deal with a difficult and serious illness they won’t also have to worry about going bankrupt. And it’s because of their efforts.
Health care is personal for me. I know what it’s like to deal with a serious family illness and the great relief that comes with knowing a loved one can get needed care because of good, quality health insurance. I’m grateful that because of the Affordable Care Act, all Americans now have access to this security. It is comforting to know that no one will be turned away because of a pre-existing illness, that women will not be charged higher rates because they can have children, and that thousands of people who could not afford coverage now have insurance under Medicaid.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of so many people, who believe as I do that affordable health care is fundamental to a society committed to liberty and equality, this open enrollment season will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans.
Today I have an update on a program that provides health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of Americans: the Multi-State Plan (MSP) Program. The Affordable Care Act created the MSP program to foster competition and bring consumers more choices in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
I first wrote about the MSP Program earlier this year. At that time, we were still evaluating the program’s results for the 2014 health plan year. Now that we have a full year of the program under our belt, I am happy to announce that we offered more than 150 MSP options in 31 states, including the District of Columbia, and enrolled more than 370,000 individuals into MSP plans.
This is a strong start for a brand new program, and we are working to offer these types of plans in even more states in 2015 and beyond. OPM is adding a second health insurer in 2015. The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans are joining the program and will sell MSP options alongside the Blue Cross Blue Shield MSP options in the Health Insurance Marketplace. CO-OPs are a relatively new type of health insurer. They are non-profit organizations that are customer-driven. They are designed to offer consumer-friendly, high-quality health insurance options. The addition of the CO-OPs to the MSP Program will help advance OPM’s role in making sure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance.
In addition to adding a second health insurer in 2015, we are expanding the MSP Program into five additional states, for a total of 36 states, including D.C. We will offer more than 200 MSP plan options.
Beginning November 15, you can sign up for an MSP option, or another health insurance plan, through HealthCare.gov or CuidadodeSalud.gov. If you have questions, call 1-800-318-2596. So if you have friends or family members who need health insurance, be sure to share this information with them.
As millions of Americans are benefiting from quality, affordable health care because of the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, I want to let you know that OPM’s Multi-State Plan program is making a difference in the lives of nearly 300,000 people who have chosen this option in the health law’s Marketplace.
Representatives of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association told lawmakers at a recent congressional hearing that 283,783 consumers signed up for an MSP option during the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period.
I am so proud of this accomplishment, especially since this was our first year running this program compared to the more than 50 years that OPM has administered the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. In this first year of the MSP program, consumers in 30 states and the District of Columbia had a MSP option as part of their health coverage choices.
It’s exciting to see that OPM is making an impact on the Health Insurance Marketplace. OPM staff is working to ensure that MSP options offer comprehensive benefits with strong consumer protections. With the MSP program in place, uninsured Americans now have even more choices for affordable coverage that works for them.
In this first year, we contracted with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, a long-time FEHB partner to provide MSP options. But I am looking forward to welcoming additional MSP issuers in the future so we can add even more competition to the Marketplace.
So if you have friends or family members who have lost their health insurance because of a major life event, please refer them to the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish version of the site. And it won’t be long before the next open enrollment for the Marketplace begins on November 15, 2014.
And make sure to put in a plug for OPM’s MSP program!
Today is it. This is the last day for Americans to enroll in an Affordable Care Act Marketplace. And I want to make a special appeal to the Latino community to keep working until the last minute to get the word out.
In the past month I’ve traveled to Philadelphia, San Antonio, Houston, Miami and Phoenix. I’ve concentrated on the Latino community because we lack health insurance in greater numbers than others. I am determined to get us covered – NOW.
We heard last week that more than 6 million Americans have signed up and that the virtual lines are long in the Marketplaces. That’s great. But we can’t let up.
In order to be assured of health coverage for the coming year enrollees have to have started the sign up process by midnight. Just like on an Election Day, as long as people are in line before midnight they’ll be given time to complete the enrollment process.
The resources are there for Latinos. In addition to healthcare.gov there is cuidadodesalud.gov. The call center – 1-800-318-2596 - has Spanish speaking operators waiting to help.
This is it. Spread the word anyway you can.
Let’s get everyone covered NOW!
I’m headed to Miami this weekend. We’re coming down to the wire for uninsured Americans people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. I especially want to make sure that the millions of uninsured Latinos know the benefits of the new health care law and how they can enroll.
The deadline for signing up for this year is March 31. After that people without health insurance will have to wait another year to enroll. They’ll have to wait another year to benefit from the preventive care the Affordable Care Act provides for free. They’ll have to wait another year for the Federal financial assistance available to help people pay their monthly premiums. They’ll have to pay a penalty for not being covered.
So far more than 5 million people without insurance have already signed up for a plan. More than 10 million people have enrolled in private insurance or signed up, renewed, or found out they are eligible for Medicaid coverage.
In Miami on Saturday I will go to Palmetto Hospital in Hialeah where Enroll America is sponsoring an event to help people sign up for the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. I want to salute Enroll America and all the other community groups across the country for the hard work they are doing in key states where large numbers of Americans are uninsured and need coverage.
After the formal event, I will join community organizers to go door-to-door in the community to explain to people the benefits of the new health law and tell them how they can sign up.
I need your help. If you are uninsured, enroll. If you have health insurance, talk to family members, talk to friends, talk to neighbors. If people have questions, there are navigators and online resources available to help. A call center is available at 1-800-318-2596, seven days a week, 24-hours a day. Consumers can get help in English and in Spanish.
Don’t forget. The deadline is Monday, March 31. It is so important to #GetCovered!
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