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Insurance Chief: End of ‘Obamacare’ enrollment nears

Puerto Rico Insurance Commissioner Angela Weyne (Credit: Youtube/SistemaTV)

Puerto Rico Insurance Commissioner Angela Weyne (Credit: Youtube/SistemaTV)

Puerto Rico residents have a little more than two weeks to sign up for health insurance or switch the terms of their coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Insurance Commissioner Angela Weyne said Thursday.

Residents have until Mar. 31 to enroll and benefit from private health coverage without the risk of being rejected.

“Since last October, the Insurance Commissioner’s Office has been conducting an orientation campaign to educate and clear up doubts and concerns about the new Health Insurance Code and the ACA,” she said.

Among the fundamental rights set out in this code is that when applying for insurance coverage, no individual can be rejected regardless of their current or or pre-existing health conditions.

Weyne added that it is important that individuals with private health plans understand that they have the right to change their insurer or health insurance provider without restrictions to their coverage based on their health condition. However, the process me completed by the set deadline.

If medical coverage is not sought before Mar. 31, individuals must wait until the next subscription period to request a new medical insurance plan or change their current coverage, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  commonly called the ACA or “Obamacare,” is a federal statute President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010 that some say represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

The ACA was enacted with the goals of increasing the quality and affordability of health insurance in the U.S. — a policy that also applies to Puerto Rico.

Among other things, companies must provide an essential health benefits package that must include ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

“We urge all those who do not have a health plan or are considering a change in their private health plan and who have questions about the new benefits and coverage, to contact their provider and make arrangements with the insurer of their choice to find out more about the options that best suit their needs and their family’s,” she said.

This media outlet requested data about how many individuals have signed up or changed their plans under the ACA, but the numbers were not available as of press time late Thursday.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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