Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also referred to as Obamacare) in 2009, and President Obama signed it into law. It has survived court challenges all the way to the US Supreme Court. Some provisions have already gone into effect. For example, children under the age of 19 cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and young adults can continue on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. Women can have direct access to an ob/gyn without a referral. Lifetime caps on insurance payouts are eliminated. And insurance companies are required to spend 80-85% of premiums on health care.
Three major components of the ACA are: 1) the requirement that most people have health insurance, either through an employer, through the government, or purchased individually; 2) the creation of “exchanges,” marketplaces where individuals can compare insurance plans; and 3) subsidies for individuals purchasing coverage who can’t afford their coverage.
If you currently have insurance coverage through an employer, it is likely that very little will change for you. But if you are uninsured, there’s a lot that you will need to know in order to make good decisions and get the best coverage you can for what you can afford. In order to help you gather information you will need to have, this webpage will maintain a list of three kinds of resources: 1) print/online resources, 2) workshops or other programs being held in the state, and 3) navigators and other trained advisors.
Medicaid Expansion (Updated June 2016)
Because North Carolina did not opt to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the state loses about $4.9 million per day in federal funding. Community Catalyst has created this counter to show what that decision is costing our state beyond the impact on our brothers and sisters who would otherwise qualify for healthcare but are currently being denied. Many of the individuals and families who could use this expansion of Medicaid to get insurance coverage work in low-wage professions like construction, day care, and food service.
Since January, The Council has partnered with Health Care for All NC to lift up the faith voice in urging our state legislators to accept funding to expand Medicaid.
Here’s how you can support this effort:
- Sign the individual petition at www.ExpandMedicaidNowNC.org
- Ask your congregation to pass a resolution supporting Medicaid expansion and join the growing list. We will send the resolution to state representatives on your behalf.
- Contact Liz Millar at the Council to request a speaker for your community.
- Share your story. A group of coalition partners in North Carolina are working to document stories of people who have been unable to afford health insurance in our state.
New Resources/Nuevos Recursos (Updated January 2016)
Are you not eligible for coverage though the Federal Marketplace? We have created a directory by county so you can find access to safety net resources.
We are also working on a calendar of ACA enrollment events for Spanish speakers across the state. Please submit events to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing to enroll:
- Information you will need to enroll
- Five Tips About the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Estimate your eligibility for subsidies with the Kaiser Family Foundation Subsidy Calculator or Consumer Reports’ Health Tax Credit Tool.
- One page guide to the Marketplace
How to enroll:
- Federal Marketplace Website (En Español)
- Application for health coverage and help paying costs
- Federal Help Line: 1-800-318-2596 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Marketplace Call Center 1-877-637-0040
- Visit a Community Health Center
- Find Local Help (GetCoveredAmerica.org) Make an appointment with a trained adviser in NC: 1-855-733-3711
If you do not enroll:
- How to apply for an exemption
- How to file an appeal
- Estimate the potential ACA penalty for individuals and married couples who don’t have health insurance coverage required by the ACA: Tax Penalty Calculator
For more information:
- Key Features of the Affordable Care Act
- Enroll America’s Consumer Website
- Kaiser Family Foundation: Videos, infographics, and articles that explain the Affordable Care Act
- Videos about the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace
- IRS information on benefits and responsibilities for individuals, families and employers
- Medicare & the Marketplace
- The Affordable Care Act for Older Americans
- Immigrants, Refugees & the Affordable Care Act
- A guide for LGBT people choosing health care plans from Strong Families
- North Carolina Department of Insurance
- What to know about insurance coverage cancellation letters
- Options available for consumers with cancelled policies
- Protect your personal information from fraud.
- Factsheet: Immigrants in North Carolina and the Affordable Care Act
Links for more in-depth information:
Health Insurance Marketplace – Information on the Health Insurance Marketplace; the website to enroll in health insurance.
Spanish-language ACA Information – Spanish language website providing information on the Health Insurance Marketplace; the website to enroll in health insurance.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Resources on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
US Department of Health and Human Services – Social media on the health care law, including blogs, tweets and stories of people who now have health insurance.
Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight – Public policy and program information on the health care law
Health Resources and Services Administration – Information on how to locate a community health center.
Medicaid – Information on the Medicaid program that assists people with low incomes.
Medicare – Information on the Medicare program that assists seniors and people with disabilities.
- Church representatives can train to be a Navigator or Certified Application Counselor through our partnership with the NC Cooperative Extension. Please register here.
- Other parties interested in being trained as a Navigator may contact NC Community Care Networks by email at LDixon@caresharehealth.org. You will be directed to the Navigator location closest to you.
- To participate in outreach for the Affordable Care Act through speaking engagements, please contact Sorien Schmidt, NC Director of Enroll America, at SSchmidt@enrollamerica.org.
- If you are interested in participating in the grassroots effort to get the word out about enrollment (e.g., house meetings and door-to-door canvassing), please sign up at www.getcoveredamerica.org.
Printable Bulletin Inserts for 2014 -15 — Get Covered, Stay Covered by the NCCC and the Big Tent Coalition
Printable Bulletin Inserts created by the NC Council of Churches
NC Council of Churches webinar slides: The Basics of the Health Care Marketplace
The Department of Health and Human Services Four-Step Guide to Planning a Health Care Enrollment Event
NC Council of Churches Partners in Health and Wholeness Program resource page
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Atlanta Regional Office would like to offer their services for your church or church staff to educate them on the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you would like a presentation, materials or an enrollment event please contact Kim Bucklen, Health Insurance Specialist, External Affairs Department on 404-562-7158.
- If your church would like a presentation about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace, we can help to connect you with a speaker who is located in your part of the state.
From NC Justice Center: An Apex small business owner describes her Affordable Care Act success
From HHS.gov: 6 million and counting!
From NC Council of Churches blog: Thank God for Health Insurance
From NC Justice Center: Mom Kimberly Tonyan: My family got great Blue Cross coverage with the Affordable Care Act
From Timothy Jost at Health Affairs: A January Exchange Enrollment Report
From the HHS Press Office: Half of single young adults eligible for the Health Insurance Marketplace could get coverage for $50 or less
- Health Affairs by Timothy Jost
- Enroll America
- Health Reform GPS
- Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review by Bob Laszewski
Analyses and Reports by the Congressional Budget Office
U.S. Census figures related to health insurance