The time to enroll in the health insurance marketplace, Affordable Care Act, is now. If you have been waiting...please do not wait any longer.
If you need health insurance and want the coverage to start on January 1, 2017, you must enroll before midnight tonight, 12/15/16. Otherwise, you have until 1/30/17 to enroll in a health insurance plan for coverage in 2017.
“But, what about….?
My friends, I can hear your questions now, because I’ve had them too. Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) going to be repealed? Replaced? Does it even matter if I get covered? Can I even afford it? How do I sign-up? Is my transition health care covered? I will do my best to give you solid answers to these questions, but please know that no one really knows what is going to happen to the ACA.
Is the Affordable Care Act going to be repealed? Replaced?
The intent from federal policy makers is to change the federal health care landscape. At this time, it is uncertain how that will look going forward.
Does it even matter if I get covered?
It matters, greatly. On the day after the election, at the national level, over 100,000 people enrolled in insurance using Healthcare.gov. LGBTQ community members experience greater health disparities including higher rates of mental health issues, substance abuse struggles, suicidal ideation, and HIV/STIs. People who have health insurance are more likely to engage in regular health screenings and preventative services.
Can I afford it?
I know that I have heard a lot of talk about premium hikes. Have you? And, there is truth in the talk. Premiums did increase. However, there are still affordable coverage options for those who are eligible for tax credits and cost sharing. People do have options, and for those who have pre-existing conditions the high premium cost can offset the risk and cost of potentially going without health insurance.
How do I sign-up?
In Missouri, the Cover Missouri website has a great resource for finding local help. There are people who are highly knowledgeable about the plans and policies, and they help you for FREE. Woo! Hoo! When searching for a site, look for the image of the state of Missouri outlined in rainbow that says “Welcoming Space.” If you want help and live in another state, use Out to Enroll for help finding an LGBTQ affirming insurance assister.
Is my transition related health care covered?
The answer to this question can be difficult to answer and depends on a few things. When the federal government ruled that sex discrimination included denying transition coverage for Trans folks, it was still unclear what that meant for insurance plans and what was going to be covered. What was clear about the ruling was that outright, blanket bans on transition related coverage is discrimination, and insurance plans in the marketplace cannot have blanket exclusions. Currently, discriminating against Trans folks in the marketplace insurance plans is illegal, and it is uncertain if this language will stay or go if the ACA is repealed or replaced. So, please my trans siblings, get enrolled. Get covered. And, go to the doctor. Need a trans affirming physician?
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will do my very best to try and get you connected.
Besides healthcare, what else have you been procrastinating? Identification documents? Getting a new passport (MO driver’s licenses will not be FAA compliant in 2018)? Registering to vote? Need to find a therapist? Primary care doctor? As we prepare for the uncertain, we at PROMO remain optimistic and hopeful. From a policy position, please take care of yourself, your family, and one another, because the reality is that we just don’t know what kind of changes 2017 will bring. I promise to keep you updated to the best of my ability. No matter what, Team PROMO is on it, and we’ve got you, Missouri.
Elizabeth Fuchs, Manager of Public Policy, started in the spring of 2016 with over 15 years of experience working in St. Louis’ LGBTQQIAA community. Born and raised in the beautiful city of St. Louis, Elizabeth obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) with a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. While a student, Elizabeth interned with then, SAGE Metro St. Louis now, SAGE of PROMO Fund, and upon graduation began employment at St. Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA). At EFA, Elizabeth worked closely with local organizations and state officials to examine how questions about gender are being asked at the state in relationship to the lack of HIV prevalence data for people who are living with HIV and identify as transgender. Her research is informing best practices for asking a two-part gender question, which she presented at the first Transgender Spectrum Conference in St. Louis and the 27th Annual HIV/AIDS and Social Work conference in New Orleans. Elizabeth’s is a passionate social justice practitioner, and proud to be in this role exploring the intersectionalities in life that effect our community members…all of us. She calls Soulard her home, Kristen Goodman her loving fiancé, and Frida and Saffron her for-legged children. She can be reached at email@example.com.