Quick Guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace


As of October 1, individuals and families can apply for insurance through the marketplace and be covered as early as January 1, 2014, including coverage for mental health and substance use disorders.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a member of the National Health Council (NHC), and we want to share with you the NHC’sQuick Guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace. This document provides important information regarding the Affordable Care Act and the health insurance marketplace.

An important feature of the marketplace is that plans are not able to charge higher premium rates or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Additionally, every plan in the marketplace must offer patients a set of ten Essential Health Benefits, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity care, emergency services, rehabilitative and habilitative services, pediatric care, mental health services, laboratory services, ambulatory patient services, and preventative and wellness care.

AFSP and the NHC want to ensure that patients are informed consumers when buying plans on the exchange. Throughout the next several weeks the NHC will release patient tools to help you as you navigate your way through this important era of health care reform. This quick guide is the first of several tools the National Health Council is creating. Take a minute to read it, share it, and think about your options for meeting your individual health care needs.

Additionally, AFSP is working with the National Council on Behavioral Health and Avalere Health to develop a tool specifically designed to assist consumers in navigating qualified health plans and mental health parity as well as benefits for newly insured individuals with mental health or substance use disorders.  We hope to have these tools available in early December.