Uninsured Ohioans have until March 31 to enroll in the 2014 health insurance marketplace before open enrollment ends. Not having affordable health insurance means that if you suddenly need medical care, you could be stuck paying for the entire bill on your own. With the average cost of a three-day hospital stay exceeding $30,000, it is no surprise that unexpected medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.
Each year, nearly two million Americans find themselves caught between the double disaster of illness and bankruptcy, and more than 56 million adults struggle with health care related bills. Uninsured individuals experience bankruptcy and medical debt at a rate much higher than those who have health insurance.
Last week I traveled with Enroll America to Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, Wright State University in Dayton, and Eastern Gateway Community College in Youngstown, to inform residents of the local resources available to help them choose and purchase a health care plan.
Under the new health law, all available plans offer free preventive care and cover pre-existing conditions. Further, the law has ended annual and lifetime caps on insurance coverage, closed the “donut hole” in drug prices for seniors, and made it illegal for insurance companies to cancel your policy if you get sick.
The health law also looks out for small business owners, providing their companies with tax credits to help them afford health coverage for their employees.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that more than 5 million Americans had enrolled in the marketplace.
Though nearly 97,000 Ohioans have already enrolled in the new health insurance marketplace, 193,000 Ohioans remain eligible to sign up. Of those, more than 115,000 Ohioans are eligible to enroll with financial assistance, making their health insurance even more affordable while still offering quality coverage. If you are in need of a health insurance plan, by calling 1-800-318-2596 or visiting https://localhelp.healthcare.gov, you can find local certified navigators, application specialists, and certified application counselors to walk you through the process.
Sign up for health insurance today to protect your health and your financial future.
Sherrod Brown is a U.S. Senator for the state of Ohio.