October 1 marked the beginning of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance plans. For individuals without insurance, the open enrollment period provides millions of Americans with the opportunity to purchase health insurance for the first time.
Insurance exchanges, also called marketplaces, are the only place to enroll in ACA insurance plans and to take advantage of possible tax credits. In Colorado, individuals and small business owners will use the Connect for Health Colorado site. In addition to providing low cost insurance plans, the ACA has also expanded Colorado's Medicaid program and the services provided by Medicare.
According to Medicare.gov, Medicare is not part of the health insurance exchange. This means individuals covered by Medicare will make their enrollment changes within the Medicare system and not within an insurance exchange. It is also important to know that services provided by Medicare prior to the ACA have not, and will not be adversely affected. In fact, according to the official government site for Medicare, preventative services were expanded through the implementation of the ACA. This includes providing individuals on Medicare with no or low cost prescriptions by closing the "donut hole". For information on Medicare Advantage plans, please see this issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Key Changes in the Medicare Advantage Program.
The links below will provide more information about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.
- The Affordable Care Act and Medicare - Information from the United States Government site for Medicare.
- Medicare Mini Guide - This 16 page article is from Consumer Reports. It explains all the changes that are occurring within the Medicare system since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act. See pages 8 & 9 for information on Medicare Advantages Plans.
- What the Health Care Law Means for People with Medicare Advantage - AARP's overview of the Medicare Advantage program under the Affordable Care Act.
- How the Affordable Care Act Helps Seniors - This resource is from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. It describes all the ways the ACA has expanded Medicare benefits.
- ACA Fact Sheet - From the Medicare Rights Center. This fact sheet compares Medicare services before and after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
- Questions and Answers on Medicare and Health Reform - Another fact sheet from the Medicare Rights Center. This looks at commonly asked questions about Medicare and health reform.
- DORA Division of Insurance - For information about the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). SHIP is part of the Division of Insurance and provides assistance for people with questions about the Medicare program in Colorado.