Guest Column – Health Insurance

Health insurance for all:  A new era begins

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as ObamaCare, requires most Americans to obtain health insurance by Jan. 1 or pay a tax penalty.  It’s set to go online on Oct 1.  Most people, especially the many fishermen and their families who don’t already have health insurance, now must get up to speed on the ACA’s requirements, sort through many health insurance options, and make some challenging decisions in the coming months.

cfn_GCThe ACA creates a “Health Insurance Marketplace” to offer people a range of insurance plan options, and, for many people, it provides subsidies to help make premiums affordable.  The law also fosters the creation of a new type
of nonprofit health insurer called Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) to offer consumer-friendly, affordable options to individuals and small businesses.

Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) is one of these CO-OPs.  Recognizing the need for fishermen and their families to better understand the ACA, its requirements, and how to get started with the complex task of obtaining health insurance, MCHO CEO Kevin Lewis agreed to provide answers to the following questions from Commercial Fisheries News.  

Assistance also is available in other states.  In a separate guest column (see next page), Angela Sanfilippo explains how Fishermen’s Partnership Services is helping people in Massachusetts and Maine sort through health insurance options.  To find help in other states, visit the federal government’s website at <> or call 1-800-318-2596.  —Editor


QWhat is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?  And what is the “individual mandate” that it establishes?

AWhen people say “Affordable Care Act” (ACA), they are referring to the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” as amended by the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”  The ACA puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over four years and beyond.

Put simply, the goals of the ACA are to improve quality and lower health care costs, enact uniform consumer protections, and provide access to care for all Americans…

Read the rest and much, much more in the October issue of Commercial Fisheries News. Read online

immediately and download for future reference.