Oct. 23, 2013 -- The bungled rollout of HealthCare.gov’s insurance web site has made headlines for the past few weeks. So it’s no surprise that many people had questions about the site and how to purchase health insurance during a live chat hosted Tuesday by WebMD.
WebMD holds the chats every Tuesday at noon ET to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act. Here are some questions and answers from our latest chat. Our weekly series of live chats will continue on Oct. 29 at noon. You also can go here to ask a question or search for more answers.
Q. Where can I get a paper application form?
A. You can use a paper application to check whether you are eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or the new subsidies (financial aid) offered through the Marketplace. Download the application from "How Do I Apply for Marketplace Coverage?" After you send it in, you’ll be notified of your eligibility in 1 to 2 weeks. You can complete your enrollment online or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596.
Q. If I buy a plan from Aetna and I qualify for a subsidy, will my network of providers and hospitals be different from the Aetna plan I have now through my employer?
A. If you're offered insurance at work, you probably won't qualify for a subsidy unless the premium for your work-based coverage costs is more than 9.5% of your annual income. Your best bet is likely to stick with your employer's plan.
If you do make a change, though, you can’t assume that the provider networks of any two health plans are the same, even if they’re offered by the same company, such as Aetna. If you have a doctor or hospital that you want to continue seeing, you must confirm that those providers are included in the plan you're considering. You may be able to check through the Marketplace, but always double-check by contacting the plan directly and by contacting your doctor's office.