Ophelia Basgal, Regional Administrator
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Herb Schultz, Regional Administrator
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
How the Affordable Care Act Benefits the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Communities It Serves
All of us know someone – whether it’s a family member, personal friend, or neighbor who doesn’t have comprehensive health care coverage. More than 40 million Americans go through life without health insurance and live with the burden of knowing that one illness or accident could cause financial ruin.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s a new day for a majority of the affordable housing residents who may be eligible, based on their income, for Medicaid to help pay their medical bills.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, individuals and households who receive federal assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs that include the Housing Choice Voucher program, Public Housing, Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) and our Homelessness Programs will be eligible for these benefits at little or no cost to them. Meeting the health needs of these individuals will help them start a fresh chapter in their lives.
And for those whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, starting in October, there will be a new way to shop for health coverage. In every state, uninsured individuals will be able to shop for health insurance based on benefits, quality and price through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Community members will also be able to learn, with a single application, if they qualify for a free or low-cost plan, or a new kind of tax credit that lowers their monthly premiums right away. And if they need help sorting through these options, there will be enrollment counselors available through the Marketplace who will be able to assist them at no cost.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act stops insurance companies, beginning in January, from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition, like cancer, asthma, or making individuals pay more just because they’re a woman. Each health insurance plan will cover preventive services and a standard set of essential health benefits that includes, among other benefits, hospital stays, prescription drug coverage, preventive services, and pediatric services; including oral and vision care for kids.
However, just because we’re expanding access to health care doesn’t mean people will sign up for coverage. So, we’re really going to need your help as we get closer to open enrollment, which starts on October 1, 2013. We need your voices and help to reach your family, friends, neighbors and residents who live in HUD-assisted housing who need this coverage. It is important that we share the options with them and let them know help is available to them.
We all know someone whose life could be changed by affordable health insurance. The opportunity for them to get that peace of mind is right around the corner. So, please join us in our outreach efforts and help make a difference in your community.
For additional details on the coverage options in your area, please visit Medicaid and HealthCare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov to learn more about the marketplace.