In Fewer than 400 words: What is the Health Insurance Marketplace and How Can It Help Me?


Confused by all the information about the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace? Kit Abney, director of the insure-a-kid program, briefly explains what it can do for you if you don’t have health insurance or are paying too much for an individual policy.

Today is a great day for thousands of uninsured Texans.

For the first time, an uninsured individual can now buy affordable health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace without the worry of being excluded due to a pre-existing condition.

In addition, many uninsured individuals are eligible for financial assistance to help pay their monthly premiums.

Ascension Seton is committed to educating our patients, employees and the general community about the marketplace and how the uninsured can get in-person help with enrolling in coverage.

The marketplace, also known as the Health Insurance Exchange, is a new way to buy health insurance. By going to, consumers can shop for and enroll in a health insurance plan that has been evaluated and approved by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and covers the following 10 essential benefits:

  • Ambulatory care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Hospitalizations
  • Laboratory services
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Preventive care
  • Chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services
  • Mental health and substance abuse services

Ascension Seton will provide hospitalization services for all of the plans sold on the marketplace in Central Texas.

Ascension Seton is a member of a regional collaborative working to educate the public about the marketplace and to enroll as many people who do not have insurance as possible.

Any uninsured U.S. citizen or lawfully present non-citizen who is not incarcerated can buy insurance on the marketplace starting today, Oct. 1. Open enrollment lasts through March 31, 2014. Insurance coverage can begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014, or later, depending on the date an individual completes the enrollment process.

After March 31, 2014, families experiencing a qualifying event such as the birth of a baby or the loss of a job may buy coverage on the marketplace. Everyone else will have to wait until Oct. 15, 2014, when open enrollment re-opens.

For this reason, it is important for all uninsured individuals to visit the marketplace now and enroll in coverage.

To learn more about the marketplace, and to see the health plans available in Central Texas and their cost, go to
Individuals in the 512 area code who want in-person assistance can find a local participating site by telephoning 211.