Senator Berta Gardner

November 17, 2015

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Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed

716 W. 4th Ave Suite 411.
Anchorage, AK 99501
 
Phone: 907-269-0174
Call Me: 1-800-331-4930

Sen.Berta.Gardner@akleg.gov
alaskasenatedems.com/gardner
facebook.com/BertaGardner

Send a letter to the Alaska Dispatch News via e-mail letters@alaskadispatch.com

Governor Bill Walker
Anchorage Office
550 W. 7th Ave, Ste 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-7450
Gov.alaska.gov
 

Lt. Governor Byron Mallot
Anchorage Office
550 W. 7th Ave, Ste 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-7460
LtGov.alaska.gov

Get Covered, Alaska!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

www.getcoveredalaska.org
Visit www.getcoveredalaska.org for more information.

In case you are not already aware, enrollment for our newly expanded Medicaid is open now through January 31, 2016.

There are many reasons to have health coverage: 

1. Coverage is security. Health coverage can help protect you from unexpected costs if you get seriously hurt or sick. Having coverage means you don't pay all costs yourself.

2. All plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, preventive services (including contraceptive services) and more. Some insurers may even cover some types of doctor's visits before you pay anything out of your own pocket.

3. Plans in the Marketplace may be more affordable than you think. When you apply, you'll find out if you qualify for lower costs based on your household income or if you qualify for Medicaid. In 2015, many people were able to select a plan with a premium of less than $100 a month.

If you need help navigating this program and finding the right plan for yourself and your family you can call 1.844.752.6725 or use email through www.getcoveredalaska.org

Important dates to consider:

December 15, 2015: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016.

January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.

January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016

January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

When you fill out the Marketplace application, they will tell you if you qualify for: 

  • Private insurance plans.  They'll tell you whether you qualify for lower costs based on your household size and income. If you don't qualify for lower costs, you can still use the Marketplace to buy insurance. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care.
  • Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs cover millions of families with limited income, disabilities, and other circumstances. If it looks like you qualify, they'll share information with your state agency and they'll contact you.

Please note that if you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a fee. If you didn't have coverage in 2015, you'll have to pay a fee on your federal tax return of $325 per adult and $162.50 per child under 18, or 2% of your income (whichever is higher). In 2016, the fee is $695 per person and $347.50 per child under 18, or 2.5% of your income (whichever is higher). In future years, the fee will be adjusted for inflation.

You're considered covered if you have Medicare Part A or Part C, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, an individual health plan, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage.

If you're eligible for job-based insurance, you can consider switching to a Marketplace plan. But you won't qualify for lower costs based on your income unless the job-based insurance is unaffordable or doesn't meet minimum requirements. You also may lose any contribution your employer makes to your premiums.

If you have a qualifying life event (like moving to a new state, getting married, having a child, or losing health coverage), you can get a Special Enrollment Period. This means you can enroll in or change your plan outside Open Enrollment. You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time.

Already have coverage?  It might be time to review your plan and decide if you need to make changes for 2016.  Also, be sure to carefully read and review the letter your health plan sends you in the mail to see what changes they're making to your coverage for the coming year.

I’m Berta and I’m still listening,

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.

signed: Berta


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