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October 1, 2013

Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace Starts Now!

LGBTAmericans_ACAToday is the start of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older people ages 50-64, who tend to report lower rates of health insurance coverage, stand to benefit greatly from the Marketplace.

Without insurance, many people delay care, which can exacerbate poor health. LGBT people across the age span deal with significant disparities in multiple areas related to physical and mental health, and an older person’s poor health represents the cumulative effect of a lifetime of discrimination. In addition, many LGBT older people have faced discrimination in health care settings or have been denied coverage because they were transgender or living with HIV/AIDS.  

However, the ACA prevents health insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions, or a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a significant step toward expanding health care access for transgender people and people living with HIV/AIDS. And new benefits for elders on Medicare improve access to preventive services and reduce prescription drug costs.

Are you uninsured, or underinsured? As a Champion for Coverage, SAGE wants you to get the health insurance you need. First, determine whether you should be shopping for health insurance in the Marketplace, or if you’re already covered by another program (i.e., Medicare):

  • For older people under age 65 and uninsured, the Marketplace provides a variety of insurance plans to make health care affordable for you and your family. The Marketplace Open Enrollment period is October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2014.
  • For people age 65+ and already on Medicare, the Marketplace does not affect you. However, between October 15 and December 7, 2013, you have the opportunity to review your current health and drug prescription coverage. Visit medicare.gov or call 1-800-Medicare for information on Medicare Open Enrollment.

If you’re ready to get coverage, enrollment is easy. Download SAGE’s ACA fact sheet to learn how to get started. While there is currently a government shutdown in effect, health coverage enrollment is not affected—so don’t delay signing up! In addition, SAGE’s new Health Insurance Action Center offers an FAQ that answers a number of concerns we’ve heard from LGBT older people about the plans being offered through the Marketplace, and other resources to help you choose the plan that’s best for you. Visit today, explore your options, and enroll!

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