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David Sayen: Coming Soon — A New Way to Buy Health Insurance

By David Sayen |

When key parts of the health-care law take effect in 2014, you’ll have a new way to buy health insurance for yourself, your family, or your small business: the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that fits your budget, with less hassle.

David Sayen
David Sayen

Every health insurance plan in the new Marketplace will offer comprehensive coverage, from doctors to medications to hospital visits. You can compare all your insurance options based on price, benefits, quality and other features that may be important to you, in plain language that makes sense.

You’ll know you’re getting a quality health plan at a reasonable price, because there’s nothing buried in the fine print.

When you shop at the Marketplace, all your costs are stated upfront. So you’ll get a clear picture of what you’re paying and what you’re getting before you make a choice.

California’s Marketplace is called Covered California.

Under the health-care law, you and your family also will have new protections. Health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you, or charge you more just because you have a chronic or pre-existing condition. And they can’t charge more for women than for men.

Here are three things to keep in mind about the Health Insurance Marketplace:

» It’s an easier way to shop for health insurance. The Health Insurance Marketplace simplifies your search for insurance by gathering all your options in one place. One application, one time, and you and your family can explore every qualified insurance plan in your area—including any free or low-cost insurance programs you may qualify for, such as Medi-Cal or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

» Most people will be able to get a break on costs. Programs that lower costs are available for almost everyone. You may be eligible for a free or low-cost plan, or a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premiums right away. New rules and expanded programs mean that even working families can get help paying for health insurance at the Marketplace.

» Clear, apples-to-apples comparisons. All health insurance plans in the Marketplace present their price and benefit information in simple terms you can understand, so you don’t have to guess about your costs.

Starting Oct. 1, 2013, you’ll be able to enroll in a health plan through Covered California. Detailed information will be available about all the insurance plans offered in your area.

You can sign up now at to get email updates that will let you know how to get ready to enroll in the plan of your choice.

If you have difficulty finding a plan that meets your needs and budget, there will be people available to give you personalized help with your choices. These helpers aren’t associated with any particular plan, and they don’t receive any type of commission, so the help they give you will be completely unbiased. will be much more than any health insurance website you’ve used before. Insurance companies will compete for your business on a level and transparent playing field, with no hidden costs or misleading fine print. You’ll have more choice, more control and more clout when it comes to health insurance.

Insurance coverage offered through Covered California takes effect next Jan. 1.

— David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 800.MEDICARE (633.4227).

» on 02.18.13 @ 08:49 PM

What a load of crap.

» on 02.19.13 @ 11:55 AM

About 3% to 5% of current health insurance policies are literally fraudulent - lead by such well known examples as Mega-Life [a health insurance company despite the name] and Mid-west Life Insurance of Tennessee [], successfully sued by the Insurance Commissioners of 23 states, yet still operating in all of them.  Many of these are owned by large, well-known investment firms, lead by Blackstone Capital.  It will be interesting to see whether these companies will a) continue to lie about coverage as they do now, b) tell the truth about their policies [meaning nobody will ever buy those policies, since they offer no real coverage], c) manipulate the disclosure rules so that their frauds can remain hidden, or d) change their policies so that they actually provide coverage.

» on 02.19.13 @ 08:10 PM

PGL, I second your opinion.

What he doesn’t tell you is that most independent experts think the premiums will rise substantially for younger people, people in the individual market who don’t qualify for the subsidies and for small businesses. Regardless of what this Obama hack says, the marketplace for insurance and healthcare next year will be a chaotic mess.

I will bet this guy’s govt pension it will not work anywhere near what he purportedly believes will happen.

» on 02.22.13 @ 02:36 PM

Our current health care is about 50% covered by taxes and premiums.  The balance is paid for via deficit spending.  To stop this generational theft we must roughly double current taxes and premiums.

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