This weekend I had the opportunity to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes and Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual disABILITY Services Commissioner Arthur Evans on Philadelphia radio show Philly Speaks on 100.3 FM. The show gave us a chance to demystify “Obamacare” and what it really means for individuals. A few of the key messages that were expressed include:
- Getting insurance coverage is essential for many individual and societal reasons.
- The new Health Insurance Marketplace provides an opportunity for individuals to purchase health insurance on a more “level playing field” than in the past.
- Through the Marketplace individuals could receive financial assistance to purchase coverage.
- The Marketplace will screen individuals for public and private health insurance options and financial assistance to purchase insurance.
- Individuals with behavioral health needs (mental health and substance use challenges) will have an increased opportunity to access services due to the Affordable Care Act’s provisions.
- Expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania is a “no brainer” and will be a huge missed opportunity if the state administration does not act soon.
- Healthcare.gov, localhelp.healthcare.gov, and 1-800-318-2596 are valuable resources for individuals to learn more about their options and places to get in-person assistance.