Ed. Note: This blog is cross-posted from The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Do you remember? For many of us, mom was the first—and best—health care provider we ever had. Cleaning off a scraped knee or filling a prescription for chicken soup, mom played a vital role in our early health. Her love and attention showed us that health care was better when it was delivered with compassion.
Mom was always there for us and it’s something we never forget.
As children get older, a mother’s role changes. No longer magically wielding thermometers or gently pulling off Band-Aids with the utmost care, a mom becomes a vital source for advice. Kids – young and old – trust mom to tell it like it is.
As the mom of two grown boys, I know the immeasurable value of a mother’s voice. I know the feeling of wanting to help kids stay safe and healthy.
That’s why helping moms learn about health care options for their kids is one of my top priorities.
I want to make sure moms across the country understand the new opportunities for their families as we approach the beginning of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Starting tomorrow, and continuing through March 2014, Americans that lack access to affordable coverage will be able to apply, compare plans, and enroll in the Marketplace, with coverage beginning as early as January 1, 2014.
These plans will cover essential services like maternity care, hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, and prescription drugs. These plans also cap out-of-pocket costs, can’t place an annual limit on coverage, and can’t charge you more because you’re a woman or have a pre-existing condition.
And for nearly 6 in 10 of the uninsured Americans, coverage will be available for $100 or less per month.
The good news is that we’re not alone in trying to get the word out. Programs like text4baby, and organizations like MomsRising, and the What to Expect Foundation are committed to joining us as we begin to educate moms about the Marketplace. We’re calling these organizations “Champions for Coverage.”
Champions for Coverage are local businesses, organizations, bloggers, community health centers, hospitals, and faith communities. They will use publicly available materials – both digital and in print – to help members of their communities understand their new options through the Marketplace.
I want to send my sincerest thanks to organizations like these. We always knew we couldn’t do this important work alone.
For millions of Americans, better health care options are on the way – as long as they know to sign up.
To see the list of Champions for Coverage visit: http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champion.html.
Learn more about the Marketplace and how to get ready to enroll at HealthCare.gov or call the Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
Kathleen Sebelius is the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.