One very necessary way to plan for the future

Did you miss it? It’s very possible you did. After all, the eyes of the politicians, government and media have all been firmly planted on the mid-term elections, and all the drama that has accompanied them. It’s not until one really needs health care that access to it takes on a very personal kind of importance, and yes, even drama, that would rival that of any election or news cycle. 

Here is what you may have missed: It is now open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, available in Connecticut through Access Health CT. One might be forgiven for not realizing this resource is still available at all. With all the talk of repealing, replacing or greatly modifying the ACA over the past years, it would be easy to think that the service had been legislated completely out of existence. 

In fact, it does still remain in force for those who need health care and have no other way to get it. In Connecticut, there are two providers offering plans right now, ConnectiCare and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield. But buyer beware: There have been changes in the kinds of plans available, some with reduced services, so be careful that the plan you are choosing covers all you need it to do, as well as covering pre-existing conditions if that applies to you or your family.

What if you need help figuring it all out, and just going to the website and searching through the options is not clear enough for you to be sure you are signing up for the plan that suits you best? There is an enrollment location in Danbury, at the CIFC Greater Danbury Community Health Center,120 Main Street (First Floor), Danbury, CT 06810. Or, there are enrollment fairs happening throughout the state, with one on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Waterbury Hospital, 64 Robbins St., Waterbury, CT 06708. 

But more locally, Janet Carlson of Health Pathfinder will be holding presentations on the ACA and enrollment sessions throughout the Northwest Corner leading into the Dec. 15 deadline. Keep an eye on www.healthpathfinder.org, email her at janet@healthpathfinder.org or call her at 860-672-0043, ext. 114, to find out when and where these sessions will be happening or to make a private appointment. She is one of the brokers who can help with enrollment, and recommend the best plan depending on one’s individual needs. 

Even if you have a current health care plan through the ACA, because of possible changes to the plans, it is wise to review the plan with someone like Carlson as you go to renew it. Be sure that plan still covers what you expect it to cover, going by what its benefits were in the past, and that the cost has not changed dramatically.

Open enrollment is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 at midnight, but Carlson wants to encourage everyone to sign up before that firm deadline. The website for Connecticut residents is www.accesshealthct.com. You can click on the Compare Plans section and learn about the available coverage before meeting with a broker. The site also lists the other locations for enrollment centers and fairs throughout the state that are available during open enrollment.

Don’t let this time pass you by if you need to renew your health care plan. You cannot always predict when it will be the most important step you take for you own, and your family’s, future well being.