The District of Columbia recognizes the month of November as the fifth annual Health Insurance Awareness Month, during which the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) encourages residents to review their family health insurance needs to ensure they have the most ideal coverage to protect their family’s future.
This month coincides with the District government open enrollment season, which begins Nov. 14 and ends Dec. 12, 2011, as well as continues the early open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2011). This period gives District government employees as well as Medicare recipients the opportunity to make changes to their health insurance benefits, flexible spending accounts and other benefits to reflect any significant life changes, for e.g., marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, etc.
“Quality health insurance is important because having coverage enables people of various economic levels to receive timely medical care, which maintains and improves the quality of their lives,” said DISB Commissioner William P. White.
This is why DISB, as a member of the Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee (HRIC) is encouraging District residents to attend one of three meetings during November to join the community conversation on the future of health care in the District of Columbia. Since June, the HRIC has convened meetings to gather feedback from residents on the creation of the District’s Health Insurance Exchange, a key component of the federal health reform law, signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010. The exchange is a virtual marketplace where individuals and small business employers can shop for insurance coverage in 2014 and beyond.
These are the final three ward-based meetings for 2011. They are as follows:
- Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Public Library, 1630 7th Street, NW, Lower Level
- Monday, Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., University of the District of Columbia, Health and Natural Science Building 44, Room A03, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Enter on Van Ness Street.
- Thursday, Nov. 17, Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street, NW. Second Floor
The HRIC is encouraging all District residents to attend any of these meetings to discuss what health reform means for them: improved access to health care for District residents now, help paying for health insurance for residents and small businesses, and opportunities to help shape health care in the District as health reform is coming, and everyone will be affected.
For more information, residents should visit http://www.healthreform.dc.gov. The HRIC needs as much input as possible to ensure that the District’s health insurance marketplace offers high quality insurance at a price residents or businesses are able to afford. The HRIC, which comprises the Department of Health Care Finance as chair, DISB, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, was created June 2011 by Mayor Vincent C. Gray to oversee the implementation of the health reform law in the District.
Other highlights of the month include:
- Health Insurance Consumer tips related to life-situation-based health coverage will be highlighted on the website, e-mailed, placed on DISB’s Facebook page and tweeted on Twitter.
- The HRIC encourages residents to visit the one-stop website on the federal health reform law. In 2010, the HRIC membership developed the healthreform.dc.gov web site in partnership with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. It offers comprehensive information on health coverage options both in the market and through government-sponsored programs, as well as implementation documents such as timelines, legislation and regulations, HRIC meeting and subcommittee meeting minutes, video of past meetings, calendar notices as well as tips for healthier living.
DISB will continue to use this month, working with its partners, at workshops and other events, to increase awareness on health insurance issues.