Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), who served as California's Insurance Commissioner for eight years and who was a health care advisor for President Clinton, marked the 100th day until the first day of enrollment for the new Health Insurance Marketplaces on October 1st by announcing that a new consumer-focused www.healthcare.gov website, its Spanish language equivalent www.cuidadodesalud.gov, and a 24-hours-a-day toll-free call center have been launched.
The new websites and toll-free call center 1-800-318-2596 are resources designed to help Americans who are looking for health coverage prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance.
"The new HealthCare.Gov websites and the toll-free call center are valuable resources to ensure that every American who needs health insurance has the information they need, so they can prepare for the new coverage opportunities coming in October," said Congressman Garamendi. "Then starting in October, HealthCare.gov will become the online destination for consumers to compare and enroll in affordable, quality health insurance plans."
Already over the last three years, due to the Affordable Care Act, numerous patient protections and consumer cost savings have gone into effect, benefiting millions of Americans, including:
* 6.6 million young adults up to age 26 obtaining insurance through their parents' plans, of whom 3.1 million would be uninsured without this coverage;
* 6.3 million people with Medicare saving over $6.1 billion on their prescription drugs;
* 34 million people with Medicare receiving a free preventive service;
* 71 million privately insured people gaining access to free preventive services;
* 105 million Americans having had lifetime limits removed from their insurance; and
* $1.1 billion in rebates from health insurance companies last summer helping benefit nearly 13 million Americans.
Now, on October 1, with the opening of enrollment in these new Health Insurance Marketplaces, Americans who are looking for health coverage will have new access to quality health insurance coverage. The Marketplaces will provide a choice among numerous private health plans and provide sliding-scale premium tax credits to make the coverage affordable.
"For years, insurance companies dropped and denied health coverage, monopolized local markets, and capriciously jacked up rates -- putting families one bad stroke of luck from financial ruin. With the health care law, the insurance industry must now abide by a Patient's Bill of Rights. The new Health Insurance Maketplaces are being established to foster competition among quality private insurance plans to slow down the rise in costs for consumers. The sliding-scale tax credits are designed to ensure that families can find a health plan that meets their needs and their budget. For millions of uninsured Americans, these new Marketplaces will bring the peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health coverage."
For information on California's Insurance Marketplace, go to http://www.coveredca.com/.