Weekly Address: Make 2015 the Year forQuality, Affordable Health Insurance
WASHINGTON, DC -- In this week’s address, the Vice President wished Americans aHappy New Year, and asked that as we make resolutions to get healthier in 2015,we take the time to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.Millions of people have already signed up for quality, affordable health care underthe law, and there is still time to secure the peace of mind that comes with gettingcovered. From now until February 15th, you can sign up by logging on toHealthCare.gov, speaking to someone on the phone through the 24/7 call center at1-800-318-2596 where you can get assistance in 150 languages, or going in personto an enrollment event in your community.
Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden
The White House
January 3, 2015
Hello everyone, this is Joe Biden. I want to wish you all a Happy New Year.
I know this is the time of year when we make resolutions to take care of our health, whether it'sjoining a gym or eating healthier. But there's one thing you can do right now that will also make abig difference in your health: that is getting quality, affordable health insurance through theAffordable Care Act.
Because of that law, access to quality health care is improving. Last year, almost 7 million peoplesigned up for health care coverage under the new law and paid their premiums. And in many casesthe cost of health care is less than the cost of your cell phone or your cable bill. In addition,millions more are getting the care that they need through Medicaid that they weren't gettingbefore.
And because of the new law, people who already had health insurance are also benefitting fromadditional protections. For example, their insurance companies can't deny them coverage becauseof pre-existing conditions, like asthma or diabetes. And they’re able to get -- for free -- preventiveservices like mammograms or blood pressure screenings that their doctors ordered for them,saving them a lot of money.
Everyone is beginning to realize what millions of you already know -- the Affordable Care Act isworking. And we're just getting started. Because there are millions more of you who can getquality, affordable health care if you sign up before February 15th of this year. That’s now throughFebruary 15th.
Now if you don't have insurance, you can go to HealthCare.gov, where you'll find a menu of abunch of different plans and what each plan covers and how much each plan costs. All you have todo is just pick one. The best one that fits your family's health care needs and your family's budget.
If you don't want to go to HealthCare.gov and you want to talk to somebody on the phoneinstead, you can call, I'm going to give you the number now, you can call 1-800-318-2596. Fromthis moment on, you can call any time of the day, any day of the week. Phone lines are open 24hours a day, 7 days a week. And for folks listening today whose family and friends may not speakEnglish: let them know that there are translators available in over 150 language to guide themthrough the process.
And if you're not comfortable going online or speaking on the phone, and you want to sit downwith an individual to help you through this, you can find out where to go as well. Because in everycommunity, at local libraries or community health centers, people are there to help. All you haveto do is go on HealthCare.gov, type in where you live, and you can find out exactly where to go tosit down with a person who will help you walk through the process.
But here's the really important point I want to make. If you don't sign up by February 15th of thisyear -- with only a very few exceptions -- if you don’t sign up by the 15th of this year, you’regoing to have to wait until 2016 to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
And even those of you who already have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, youcan also go on HealthCare.gov to find a plan that might offer more benefits or be more affordablein price for you. You might even qualify for additional help paying for the insurance you choosebecause your income isn't what it was last year.
Now I'm sure some of you already heard from your friends and neighbors who’ve signed up forhealth insurance under the Affordable Care Act what I hear all around the country. I hear itprovides peace of mind that someone you love will be covered if God-forbid something happens.It provides security, so if you have a bad strain in your ankle or your back and you don’t have themoney to get treatment, you can now get the treatment rather than wait, put it off, and end upwith a chronic condition. And it provides a lot of freedom, and choice, and opportunity -- so youcan switch jobs or move to another city without the fear that you'll lose out on the healthinsurance with the company you now have it with. And what I'm hearing most is how pleased andexcited people are about how affordable it is.
An awful lot of people who didn't think they could or would find quality, affordable healthinsurance are actually able to get assistance from the government to help them pay for theirhealth care plans at a cheaper rate. Let me give you an example. A family of four with an incomeof around $95,000, they can still get a subsidy to lower their health care premiums.
But maybe most importantly, what I hear is that we have finally ended the debate in this countryof whether or not health insurance is a right or a privilege. We think everyone in America has aright to have adequate health care insurance. And the Affordable Care Act gives them that right.
So sign up. And spread the word. Protect your health -- not only for your sake, but for the sake ofyour families.
Thanks for listening, and Jill and I wish you again a happy and healthy New Year. God bless you,and may God protect our troops.