Health Insurance Resource Center

What You Need to Know About Getting Health Care Coverage Under the Health Reform Law

The Affordable Care Act is now beginning to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who previously could not afford private health insurance plans and did not qualify for public insurance programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

On October 1, 2013, thousands of uninsured West Virginians without health care coverage began to enroll in quality, private health insurance plans through West Virginia's Health Insurance Marketplace. Even those who were previously denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions are eligible for health care coverage under the health reform law.

Under the health reform law, states were also given the option to expand Medicaid. West Virginia is among the states that chose to expand the Medicaid program. Now, because of the expansion, those who were previously ineligible for Medicaid may qualify for Medicaid coverage.

 It's important to note that if you:

  • Already have coverage through your employer, you are covered. If you are currently enrolled in insurance through your job, you meet the minimum coverage requirement and you can keep your job-based plan. For more information, click here.
  • Are a veteran enrolled in a VA health care plan, you are covered. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also has a resource to help veterans understand what the Affordable Care Act means for them. Click here to learn more.
  • Are currently enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid, you are covered.

The Marketplace opened for enrollment on October 1, 2013. If you apply for coverage before December 23, 2013, your coverage will begin on January 1, 2014. If you do not enroll by December 15, you can continue to apply for 2014 plan year coverage up until March 31, 2014. After that date, you will not be able to enroll in the Marketplace until enrollment for 2015 which begins on October 1, 2014.

According to new guidance from the Department of Health and Human Service, you will now have until March 31, 2014 to sign up for coverage without incurring any tax penalty under the individual mandate. Click here for more information on the individual mandate.

Please Note: If you are experiencing trouble with, you have the option of filling out a paper application and mailing it in rather than enrolling through the website. Here is the link to the paper application, which you can print, fill out manually and mail to:

Health Insurance Marketplace

Dept. of Health and Human Services

465 Industrial Blvd.

London, KY 40750-0001


Preparing to Enroll

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To prepare:

  • Gather basic information about your household income.
  • Set your monthly insurance budget.
  • Make sure you understand how coverage works, including things like premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, copayments, and coinsurance.
  • Learn about different types of health coverage.
  • Make a list of questions you have before it's time to choose your health plan.
  • Find a navigator or other trained professional to help answer questions you have.  
  • Ask your employer if it plans to offer health insurance in 2014.