Signing Up for Health Insurance May Take Less Than An Hour


By Robert Cyr 
Signing up for health insurance online isn’t as daunting as some may think, according to representatives from Access Health CT, the state group formed to help implement the Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare.”
Many may have shied away from signing up since the law went into effect at the start of October, afraid it would be a long, difficult process involving lots of paperwork, medical disclosures and financial statements.
But the reality of the process is much more simple, said Access Health Marketing Manager Jason Madrak. He told that, in fact, it’s a two-step process that can be completed in an hour. While he understands the trepidation surrounding the site, the response so far has been mostly positive, with an 80 percent approval rating on their site,
“For the most part, signing up for health insurance is not something people tend to put at the top of their to-do list,” he said. “It can be a little bit intimidating, and it may be the first time many people actually sign up for insurance.” Signing up is relatively easy, he said.
What You Need
All you need are financial statements showing income so providers can gauge which policy would fit best. Applicants qualify for Medicaid if they make less than $15,000 a year. Those who earn more can get tax credits to bring down monthly premiums.
Step One – The first step is getting onto the website and clicking around to become familiar with the programs, Madrak said. For those who feel uncomfortable going it on their own, stores in New Britain and New Haven have been set up with computer banks and a staff of advocates to explain the entire process, he said. Enrollment fairs are also held at local libraries.
Then create a profile, much like signing up for an email account, he said. After providing income information, the customer can then pick the best plan for them and enroll right away. Unlike other enrollment steps, the state signup program does not require showing medical conditions or records – a huge step forward in easing the stress of insurance enrollment.
“Everyone is guaranteed a policy, regardless of medical conditions,” he said. “It’s a major change for the better. In the past it could take hours, with medical underwriting, detailed info on any past procedures and medications. It could be used to deny a plan, charge more or even rescind policies. That’s gone now.”
Step Two – The next step is to “Build Your Household,” by adding family members to the plan.
While the group has contracted with several Latino non-profit agencies for outreach and enrollment efforts, there is still no Spanish-language option on the Connecticut $42 million website, said AHC spokesperson Andrea Ravits. The federal site however is available in 70 languages.