So, what does this all mean and how will it affect you?
Basically on October 1, open enrollment will begin for the healthcare exchanges. Let’s break this down.
What are exchanges?
Think of the exchanges as a way for small businesses and individuals to shop online for insurance. These sites will allow you to compare different insurance plans and determine which one is right for you or your business.
There are two types of exchanges – public and private. The public exchange may be run by your state, the federal government or a partnership between the two. Private exchanges are not a part of the ACA and are run by private companies.
How will this affect me?
1) Because ACA will no longer let insurers deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, this is an opportunity for those who had been having trouble getting insurance to shop around for the right-fit plan for them.
2) Starting in 2014, the ACA will require every individual to have insurance or face paying a fine. This penalty will start out as a low figure, but will grow over time. The exchanges are a way to start looking around to lock down which plan you will use to avoid paying the penalty.
3) When shopping on the public exchange, the ACA will allow for tax credits and subsidies to help cover the insurance cost and make it more affordable.
How do I know what to pick?
Buying insurance can be a little tricky and definitely intimidating. The exchanges will have people on call (they refer to themselves as Navigators) who will be available to walk you through the process and answer your questions.
How long to I have to use the exchanges?
The exchanges will be open from October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014. However, if you purchase insurance through an exchange before January 1, 2014, your coverage may not start until after the new year.
What if my employer already offers insurance?
Your employer has until October 1, 2013 to let you know about the exchanges and to inform you if their current plan meets the standards set by ACA. If you are unsure about what your employer is telling you or what your coverage will (or won’t be), consult with your supervisor or inquire with the exchange.
Where can I find these exchanges?
Starting October 1, 2013, you’ll be able to find links to the exchanges here.
What other questions do you have about ACA? Ask below and we’ll try to answer them!