Get Covered Illinois Announces Marriage Equality Act Opens the Door for Same-Sex Couples to Obtain Health Coverage

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Get Covered Illinois (GCI), the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced that with the Marriage Equality Act taking effect in Illinois, same-sex couples who get married will now be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in which they can enroll in private health coverage plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires all insurance companies to offer the same coverage to same-sex spouses as they do for opposite-sex spouses. This means that married same-sex couples and their children can now enroll in a plan as a family in Illinois and may qualify for financial help on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.

Under the rules of the ACA, marriage is one of the qualifying life events that makes people eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP, that allows them to sign up for coverage outside of the usual open enrollment period. The SEP lasts for 60 days in the Marketplace, or 30 days under an employer’s SHOP Marketplace plan, after the marriage or other life event. Other qualifying events include having a child, losing a job that had coverage, moving into the state and more.

GCI recently completed a highly successful initial enrollment period in which, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) figures, 217,000 people enrolled in a plan through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Coupled with enrollment of approximately 329,000 people to date in Medicaid under the ACA, more than 546,000 Illinois residents have enrolled in health care as a result of the state’s enrollment efforts.

The next open enrollment period for the GCI Marketplace will begin on November 15 and run through February 15, 2015. To learn more about your coverage options or to find free in-person help in your area visit or call 866-311-1119 Monday – Saturday from 8 AM to 8 PM.

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