By Jessica Hart, NAMI State Advocacy Manager
The Healthcare.gov rollout has been a rocky process. But the healthcare reform law has the potential to increase access to insurance for millions of people living with mental illness. Thanks to the included parity provisions, an estimated 62 million Americans will now receive coverage for mental illness at a level equal to medical and surgical benefits.
Although many people have experienced problems signing up online, numerous others have been successful in signing up for coverage using Healthcare.gov. Last week over a three-day period, more than 56,000 people enrolled, which is more than double the amount that enrolled during the month of October.
If you have had difficulties applying through healthcare.gov, NAMI’s best recommendation is to try again now. Apply on or before Dec. 23, 2013 in order to begin receiving coverage on Jan. 1, 2014. There are four different routes to find coverage: through the phone, online, in-person or by mail. Specific information about how to sign up through these different routes is listed below.
Should I apply for insurance on Healthcare.gov?
If you or a family member has private coverage with the benefits you need and affordable out-of-pocket costs, or if you have Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE or VA benefits, you don’t have to shop for a new plan.
You should apply if you have no health insurance or if your health plan does not cover your physical or mental health needs. You should also consider applying if the cost of your monthly premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs have negatively affected your ability to receive the care you need.
How do I apply?
You can apply for health coverage from any state by going to Healthcare.gov. If you have questions or need assistance in applying you can get 24/7 help by telephone, live chat or face-to-face in your community.
- 1 (800) 318-2596 (TTY/TDD 1 (855) 889-4325).
- Available 24/7.
- Help is offered in more than 150 languages.
- Use the live chat options to ask questions from a health care expert.
- Available 24/7.
- Navigators and other trained personnel are available for you to see in-person for help filling out an application. Find out where you can get help in your local community.
- You can download and print the application and instructions from healthcare.gov, or you may be able to pick them up at your local health department, community clinic or mental health center.
To find out more about how the health care law affects people living with mental illness and their families, check out www.nami.org/healthcoverage.