Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Legal Aid and Partners Launch D.C. Health Care Information Website

Regular readers of this blog have seen a great deal about implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the District of Columbia. The District’s “Exchange” – that is, its online portal through which you can apply for Medicaid, shop for a private health insurance plan and determine if you are eligible for financial assistance with a private plan – is called DC Health Link. From all accounts we have received, the website appears to be going strong.

But with all of the buzz about how to purchase private plans on www.DCHealthLink.com, some in the DC community are concerned that people with public health insurance through Medicaid, Medicare and the DC Alliance might be confused about the impact of the ACA on them. For example,

* Individuals who have Medicaid do not have to purchase a private plan; therefore, they should never give out their private information to callers they don’t know who promise to maintain their Medicaid coverage.

* Individuals who have Alliance may need to make a choice about whether to keep Alliance coverage or purchase a private plan.

* Medicare beneficiaries might get confused about the ACA open enrollment season and the Medicare Part D open enrollment season (which are at the same time).

Last month, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (with our partners AARP DC, Bread for the City, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Health Insurance Counseling Project of George Washington University, Legal Counsel for the Elderly and Whitman-Walker Health) worked with the Consumer Health Foundation to create a website — www.DCHealthFAQ.org — to help DC residents who receive these benefits better understand the impact of ACA implementation on their benefits.

Medicaid, Medicare and DC Alliance beneficiaries — and their advocates — can go on www.DCHealthFAQ.org for information and resources about the impact of the ACA on these programs.  It contains fact sheets about these programs as well as a list of organizations that can help with questions and appeals regarding these benefits as well as those who can help with enrollments into private plans through www.DCHealthLink.com. We are very grateful to the Consumer Health Foundation for not only providing the financial support but for hosting and assisting with the design of the website as well.

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