Healthcare Reform
 
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Healthcare Exchange Explained

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 02:16 PM EDT
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will require millions of uninsured people to buy health insurance starting at the first of the year, and the government hopes to simplify that process for them with the health insurance marketplace.

News 13's Frank Fraboni explains what you need to know about it.

Julia Vandeysheva works at a small coffee shop that doesn't provide health insurance to its employees.  Beginning January 1st, 2014, she'll be required by law to buy her own coverage, or face a penalty

Julia Vandysheva, uninsured worker, "I am agreed with this system and not at the same time cause certainly if someone needs health insurance no matter what if government tells you to do it or if not. It will be your choice."

People like Julia will get to choose what plan they want, one way is through the health insurance marketplace or exchange,  run by the federal or state government. It will allow people to compare and pick a private plan based on rates and coverage.  

California is one of a few states that has already set up an exchange.  They have an online calculator for premiums.  Some think this is a good gauge of what you can expect, just plug in your household size, income and age, and you see a household of 3 earning $50,000 would have a $657 premium, receive a $315 tax credit for a total premium bill of $343 per month or roughly $4,000 a year.

Sharon Robbins is a certified affordable care act insurance specialist.  She says no one can be denied coverage because of per-existing conditions, "so it would naturally stand to reason that rates will go up because they're going to have to insure everyone no matter what their health status is."

But the aim of Obamacare is to make insurance more affordable through competition, streamlining and tax credits for lower income participants.

All plans in the exchange will offer certain essential health benefits, but there are 4 tiers of coverage ranging from lower quality, more affordable plans with higher deductibles to more expensive ones that offer better coverage and lower deductibles.

"Where we may have thousands of plans today, we're going to be much more limited in the new market come January 1, 2014."

The health insurance marketplace is meant to simplify medical coverage and the people who still don't buy in will face a penalty, but some may find the penalty easier to swallow than the premium.

"I think it will put a lot of pressure on some people who are not able to pay for the insurance, there is a reason why some people don't get it."Healthcare Exchange Explained


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Enrollment for healthcare exchanges as part of healthcare reform begins October 1 in states where exchanges will be set up. Expect special reports each week from us about what you need to know about 'Obamacare' and the ongoing political fight about its future.

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