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Obamacare starts Tuesday, shutdown or no shutdown. Here's how to sign up wapo.st...
To help readers understand and maneuver through Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act — the Washington Post has published a variety of consumer stories, FAQs, online chats and video segments, linked below. Check back for regular updates.
Obamacare enrollment: How does it work?
Obamacare Q&A: Health reporters and columnists
Obamacare Q&A: Health reporters Mary Agnes Carey and Julie Appleby
Do you have a list of the "specific" people, phone numbers, email, web address and organization they are with? I need to be able to contact someone for sign up into the health care program both nationally and state by state. I have been looking for several months online and calling state officials, and I cannot find anything! Two weeks before enrollment and I have to ask a private news organization who to contact about a federal program.
– September 16, 2013 3:29 AM Permalink
MARY AGNES CAREY :
Start with healthcare.gov, which can tell you if your state is running and exchange and if so will send you to that specific web site. You can also call 800-318-2596 to contact someone at healthcare.gov.
If my employer doesn't offer affordable coverage - and I don't get insurance in my state's exchange - do I still have to pay the fine?
SK: Generally the answer is yes: If you don't buy health insurance in 2014, you will likely face a tax penalty ($95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is higher).
There is one exception to this: If you cannot find a health insurance plan that is affordable, the federal government will not require you to purchase a plan. The federal government defines "affordable" as something that costs less than 9.5 percent of your income.
Thank you! S/F for posting a link to the entire, original bill that started this whole dog and pony show.
Just imagine the mess to consider that enormous thing...with pages and pages to define, regulate and interpret each page of IT ..somewhere out there by now.
Overall, experts say those who already have heath coverage may see higher premiums to cover the new drug benefits, but lower out-of-pocket pharmaceutical fees. But less expensive insurance plans will probably cost the consumer more down the road in higher out-of-pocket prescription medication charges.
recent analysis of seven states whose health care exchange plans have been submitted shows the higher the plan’s premium cost, the lower the prescription prices. Those who choose the bronze and silver plans, however, will pay higher out-of-pocket costs, according to the analysis by HealthPocket, an independent research firm that compares and ranks health plans by state. Because certain drugs not covered by specific plans aren’t subject to out-of-pocket limits, HealthPocket found that consumers must make sure a particular medication is within the drug benefit before selecting the right plan.
Essential Health Benefits
The Affordable Care Act ensures Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. To achieve this goal, the law ensures that health plans offered in the individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges), offer a core package of items and services, known as “essential health benefits.” EHB must include items and services within at least the following 10 categories:
Ambulatory patient services
Maternity and newborn care
Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
That amount – $328 per month – is the national average for the mid-tier “silver” premium based on HHS calculations for approved plans in 48 states. The challenge, of course, is that like all of healthcare itself, your mileage will vary.
Another important factor in all of this is the extended open enrollment period. Unlike most 90 day health insurance enrollment windows, this one (for 2014 coverage) will run a full 6 months – until March 31, 2014.
Unlike a cell phone plan, however, health insurance for many is a product that won’t get daily – or even weekly or monthly use. Which remains one of the 4 big unknowns to the President’s signature legislation. Will the uninsured – those without access to insurance through an employer and those that tend to be in lower income brackets – actually buy health insurance at scale as the President hopes? Or will the penalty be more of the default choice?
The penalty may seem minor for year 1, but it does increase dramatically for the second and subsequent years.
* 2014 – $95 per uninsured person (or 1% of household income over filing threshold)
* 2015 – $325 per uninsured person (or 2% of household income over filing threshold)
* 2016 (and beyond) – $695 per uninsured person (or 2.5% of household income over filing threshold)
According to KFF, there remains large confusion over both the plans themselves and their cost. A tracking poll released by KFF last week (here) shows that 51% of the public generally and 67% of the uninsured (a key demographic for ACA success) don’t have enough information about the law to know how it will impact their families.
Perhaps even more problematic is that only about 13% of the uninsured know that at least some of the online exchanges (places to shop and then buy insurance) will be open this Tuesday – October 1.
The individual mandate to buy health insurance and the public exchanges designed to create a new consumer marketplace are really key components to the larger shift. That shift is designed to create a new consumer model and options for both insurance purchase and healthcare consumption. As the President also said last week:
It’s a historical accident that in this country health care is attached to employers. President Barack Obama (9/24/2014)
His signature legislation – the Affordable Care Act – is clearly designed to create more consumer options which will also move more financial and clinical responsibility to each of us as individuals for our own healthcare. The official start for that sizeable shift has finally arrived. It is this Tuesday – October 1.
The real question remains. Just how successful has the President been on convincing Americans of the need to buy into managing their own healthcare cost – either near or long term? The KFF poll isn’t encouraging – but either way – we’re about to find out.
I still can't afford it and I still don't want it.
reply to post by Unity_99
That's affordable according to you.
I know many people living paycheck to paycheck that can not afford that amount, regardless of what people like you or the government tell them is affordable.