what are the top 5 things people can do to prepare?
During a recent phone call arranged by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) to help members prepare for healthcare reform, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told a story that any rare disease patient or caregiver can relate to.
It was about a nurse,whose name is Cathy Stoddart. Her son was born with heart defects that required multiple extensive surgeries. Stoddart and her husband both worked and had insurance coverage, but each surgery resulted in thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs. To save their son’s life, they used credit cards to pay the bills, which ultimately drove them into bankruptcy. Today their son is alive and well and going to nursing school, but the Stoddarts’ credit history was damaged in a way that people in rare disease communities will be able to avoid in the future, thanks to healthcare reform.
The Top 5 Things You Should Do
Stoddart has been telling her story around the country, urging people to take advantage of their opportunity to enroll for insurance under the new provisions of healthcare reform. New insurance policies will have an annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses, which will help rescue families from the financial hardships that Stoddart and her family faced.
With the healthcare insurance marketplace about to arrive on October 1, what are the top 5 things people can do to prepare? Sebelius suggests:
• Sign up for email and text updates
• Gather some info about household income
• Set a budget, what can you afford to pay each month
• Make sure you understand how coverage works – what a copay is, what a deductible is, etc.
• Find local healthcare
Get all the details by visiting www.healthcare.gov. The website also provides answers to other questions. What should you do if you have job-based insurance? How can you lower your costs? What do small businesses need to know about the healthcare marketplace?
Where to Get Help Figuring It All Out
Sebelius said that full applications will be available at the beginning of October so people can compare plans side by side and, based on income, find out what will be available in terms of help and support. One of the nice features of the new healthcare marketplace is that there are a number of businesses and organizations, including CVS, Walgreen’s, and your local library, that have been trained as navigators. They’ll be available to answer your questions in person.
Now is the time to get educated and get ready. October 1 is almost here!