Affordable Care Act: What you need to know

RiverBend Cancer Services started its October “Living Well with Cancer” educational series. It’s a series that supports the fight against cancer in Michiana by addressing the physical, emotional and psychological changes and challenges that can result from cancer treatment.

Thursday’s educational program was on the Affordable Care Act. RiverBend asked a licensed agent from the new Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center – Health Insurance Services to talk about the health care law.

The lecture took about an hour covering a good amount of what you need to know when it comes to health care, here are the basics.

The new law makes it illegal to be denied coverage for a pre-existing conditions starting January first and insurers can't limit your care.

On top of that, you get free preventative care like annual check-ups and health screenings.

Your insurance must cover 10 essential health benefits like emergency services, hospitalization and prescription drugs.

If you don't already get insurance through your job, you can go through the marketplace website, Make sure you type in gov and not com, some people are complaining of fake websites that end in com.

“In Indiana, in the St. Joseph County area, there are four commercial insurance carriers that are available, those are Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, MedWise, Coordinated Care and Physicians Health plan,” says licensed insurance agent and manager Sondra Gardetto. “In addition, if somebody does need help with insurance and they don’t want to go through the marketplace they can still look for other commercial health insurance plans through another carrier. They have several options, but in order to be eligible for the subsidy or the tax credit they must go through the health insurance marketplace.”

Here are some dates you need to know, enrollment started October 1, 2013. You need to enroll by December 15th if you want your insurance to start January first. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

When you are enrolling you will need your social security number, employer and income information and policy number if you have insurance.

The website is

If you have any questions or need help setting up insurance, you can contact the new St. Joseph Regional Medical Center – Health Insurance Services at 1-855-900-0024 or go to their website

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