Dec. 15 is a critical date for Arkansans seeking affordable health insurance coverage. It is the last day for open enrollment in the state's My Arkansas Insurance Individual Marketplace.
This is the program, managed by the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, that provides health insurance plans for individuals who do not have access to employer-provided insurance.
According to the most recent data from the respected Kaiser Family Foundation, there are approximately 225,000 Arkansans who have no health insurance coverage. That's 8 percent of our population with no access to insurance through an employer-provided plan, an individual policy, Medicare or Medicaid.
Those families and individuals are one catastrophic illness away from potential financial bankruptcy. We insure everything else important in our lives--homes, autos, boats--why not our health?
Health insurance plans available through the marketplace's website, myARinsurance.com, are designed to meet the needs of Arkansas families and provide a variety of options to fit household budgets. Each plan is administered by trusted insurance providers and includes comprehensive benefits.
The most important features of each plan available through the marketplace include no restrictions for pre-existing conditions and no lifetime limits. Also included are standard health-care benefits such as emergency care, outpatient services, mental health care and prescription drugs. Preventative care and screenings, most of which require no co-payment, are also emphasized.
If cost is an issue, financial assistance may be available to help pay for premiums.
The Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace's My Arkansas HelpLine is a toll-free service that connects consumers with in-person assistance and enrollment help by qualified agents and brokers located in the same area as the consumer.
The one-on-one enrollment assistance is provided at no cost. This is our commitment to making sure that every Arkansan in every county has access to necessary support through a streamlined process utilizing experienced health insurance professionals.
The My Arkansas HelpLine, at (844) 355-3262, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Two years ago, the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace took the important step toward greater local control when we converted to a state-based exchange using the federal enrollment platform on Healthcare.gov. Simply put, by relying on the existing state-of-the-art technology of the federal program, we can focus more intently on the quality of services we offer Arkansans such as consumer outreach, enrollment assistance, and private industry partnerships.
Consumer savings, comprehensive coverage, affordable choice, single point of contact and personal assistance from an engaged network of local agents and brokers are the benefits provided to Arkansans who search for coverage through the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.
But hurry! Time is running out on the open enrollment period. Dec. 15 is the absolute deadline.
Visit www.myARinsurance.com now and give your family the security and peace of mind that quality health insurance provides. You owe it to yourself and the ones you love.
Brett Kirkman is chairman of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board of Directors and senior vice president of Poplar Healthcare.