What the ACA Means to the Mid-Atlantic Region
By Jane C.W. Vincent, Regional Administrator of HUD Region III
Department of Housing and Urban Development Region III Administrator Jane C.W. Vincent (left) and Department of Health and Human Services Region III Director Joanne Grossi pose for a photo after a presentation on the Affordable Care Act to HUD regional employees.
On a busy sidewalk in downtown Philadelphia, a representative with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project distributed flyers, publicizing a June rally in Harrisburg to demand Medicaid for Pennsylvanians. The flyer detailed concerns about low-to-middle class families being denied health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"We need health coverage for our families," the flyer read.
This outcry for health care coverage can be heard in communities across the county, where hard-working families are passionately discussing the ACA and the access it will bring to affordable health care coverage.
When key parts of this Act go into effect, there will be a new way to buy health insurance for the 3.4 million uninsured residents in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. They will be able to compare and purchase health insurance plans starting October 1 at the new Health Insurance Marketplace, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014.
For those receiving HUD assistance, the ACA can eliminate the domino effect created by the harsh realities of being uninsured - health problems leading to job loss, and ultimately, the inability to pay the rent or mortgage. With the expansion of access to health insurance, there's a greater chance for homeowners to avoid foreclosure and for HUD-assisted housing residents to achieve self-sufficiency.
The ACA will have a positive impact in the communities we serve and support our efforts to use housing as a platform to improve health outcomes and quality of life.
HUD data reveals the average income of families receiving rental assistance in 2012 was $12,655. In those states that have agreed to expand their Medicaid programs, the vast majority of uninsured, HUD-assisted residents will be eligible for Medicaid as opposed to private insurance. This would also include people who live in HUD-funded affordable housing and residents in areas where median income and eligibility for HUD assistance may be higher than the Medicaid eligibility standard.
So, in keeping with our mission and to raise awareness in the mid-Atlantic region, we are partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to spread the word about the important benefits and provisions under the ACA.
HHS will operate Marketplaces for states that have not elected to do so. There are three models: state-based, federal-state partnership and federally facilitated. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, there will be a state-based Marketplace. In West Virginia and Delaware, there will be a federal-state Marketplace. In Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the Marketplace will be federally run.
The Marketplaces will offer a one-stop-shopping opportunity to learn about health insurance options, allowing various income groups to compare a wide range of private insurance plans to make the best coverage decisions.
Check out www.HealthCare.gov or call (800) 318-2596 so that you don't miss a thing when it's time to enroll on October 1.
Help us spread the word.