Information on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Information on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

With the recently enacted federal Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, everyone is required to have health insurance either through the federal Marketplace, through their employer, or through an independent insurance broker.

My concern is that our residents know the facts and know the appropriate, safe and effective way to go about the process.


2014 Open Enrollment through the Affordable Care Act web site ended

March 31, 2014


You cannot buy a Marketplace health plan unless you quality for a special enrollment period. (You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP anytime.) Individuals may qualify for Special Enrollment Periods if they experience life-changing events such as moving to a new state, changes in income, and changes in family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby). If you don’t have a life-changing event, you can’t buy insurance through the Marketplace until the next Open Enrollment period.

The next Open Enrollment Period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015.

Buyers can always go directly to an insurance company. Plans bought outside the marketplaces don’t come with government subsidies. But they do include the law’s consumer protections. For example, insurers can’t turn down customers because of pre-existing medical conditions.

If you don't have health coverage in 2014, you may have to pay a fee. You also have to pay for all of your health care. The fee is sometimes called the "penalty", "fine", "individual responsibility payment", or "individual mandate"

The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of 2 ways. If you or your dependents don’t have insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage, you'll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:

1% of your yearly household income. The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan; or,

$95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.

You’ll pay the fee on your 2014 federal income tax return.

It's important to remember that even if you pay the penalty, you still don't have any health insurance coverage. And you are responsible for 100% of the cost of your medical care.

General Information

Medicare –

The ACA (Obamacare) and Medicare are not the same. They are two separate programs. Contact Social Security with questions. There may be changes in your specific plan and if so you will be contacted directly. For information regarding Medicare coverage, you can call the toll-free number at 1.800.MEDICARE (1.800.633.4227). TTY number is 1.877.486.2048 or consult the website at

Resources on the web site are available in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish and French Creole. The website has online questions and answers, an online chat, and a toll-free caller center. The call center is also available at 800.318.2596.

There are also local certified application counselors available to help you.. They are:
Bergen County Urban League, 201.568.4988 (; the Korean Community Center, 201.541.1200 (; Greater Bergen Community Action Partnership, 201.968.0200; and the Paterson Community Health Center Inc., 973.790.6594 (

Cautionary note: The application requires a lot of personal information. Be sure that you share that information only with people who are certified and people you trust. And beware of the scam.

How to protect yourself

The Obamacare Card:

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about fraudulent insurance cards being peddled by con artists who claim to be from the government. Here’s how the scam works. You receive a call from someone claiming to be from the federal government. The caller informs you that you’ve been selected as part of the initial group of Americans to receive insurance cards through the new Affordable Care Act. However, before the caller can mail your card, they need to verify personal information, such as your bank account and Social Security numbers. Ignore these pitches and any unsolicited phone calls that ask for personal information.

Hang up, don’t press any buttons, and don’t call back.

Be cautious with your identity.

Never give personal information to someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether by phone, email, social media or in person. Never give out credit card numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth or Social Security numbers to unfamiliar callers.

The government uses regular mail.

Government agencies normally communicate through the mail, so be cautious of calls, text messages or emails. Don’t believe someone who calls claiming to be from the federal government and don’t give them personal information.

Don’t trust caller ID.

Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.

Be wary of Phony Navigators and Certified Application Counselors.

Official Navigators and Certified Application Counselors are specially trained to help you complete the application for ACA (Obamacare). They are generally associated with a community organization like the Urban League. Certified counselors and navigators will not make unsolicited calls or send unsolicited e-mails and texts to you.

Phony Websites.

The only official website in New Jersey is . Do not use any other website or provide personal information to any other website. Once on the official government website, make sure the URL for every page you fill out begins with “https” to ensure the connection to the site is secure.

Medicare Scare

. The ACA (Obamacare) and Medicare are not the same. They are two separate programs. Contact Social Security with Medicare questions.

Share this information with everyone in your family, especially the elderly who may be vulnerable.


• If you get unsolicited calls, hang up.
• Do not provide personal information to anyone on the phone, through e-mail or text messages. is the only official website.

Official Navigators and Certified Application Counselors are available to answer your questions and to help you fill out the application. You can contact them at the following:

Affordable Care Act Marketplace
National Call Center – 800.318.2596

Urban League of Bergen County

Korean Community Center (KCC)

Greater Bergen Community Action Partnership (BCCAP) (Spanish speaking staff available)

Paterson Community Health Center, Inc.

(Spanish speaking staff available)