By Elisabeth Mabus, Special Assistant, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development
This week we launched our new webpage on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact early childhood programs like Head Start and child care. This is an exciting moment for the Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families and for the country as we begin to see tangible results from years of dedicated work from every state and the federal government.
Beginning in 2014, 41.3 million uninsured Americans will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace will make it easy for you to compare qualified health plans; get answers to questions; find out if you are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and enroll in health coverage that meets your needs. Children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP now, can begin receiving benefits before January 1.
Open enrollment in the Marketplace starts October 1, with coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2014. But we want to encourage you, your families and your businesses to visit www.HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov right now to find the information you need to prepare for open enrollment.
The ACA not only expands health care, it ensures all Americans get access to better health care. Starting in 2014, women will not be charged more than men for the same level or care, and children and parents will have access to an expanded list of preventative services with no out-of-pocket expense. Immunizations; obesity screening and counseling; domestic violence screening and counseling; breast cancer screening; autism screenings; breastfeeding counseling; and other benefits will have no copay, even if you have yet to meet your deducible.
As Fall approaches and our kids head back to school and into Head Start and child care programs, we want providers, teachers, and families to feel empowered by the ACA and the Marketplaces. Healthy children, health teachers, and healthy parents all mean a better environment for learning.
Whether you are looking for information on how to inform the families and children you serve on the Marketplace, or if you are interested in how the ACA will affect your business, large or small, check out the new webpage. Get your questions answered and understand you role as we begin signing people up on October 1.
Share the news about the new webpage and help spread the excitement for the Marketplace with us! To keep up-to-date on new and exciting ACF early childhood initiatives, sign up for the Early Childhood Newsletter.