5 Things you need to know about the Affordable Care Act

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Today’s the Day.  The healthcare exchanges are open for business, letting consumers price shop… and sign on get healthcare coverage.  And it’s a life changer for 50 million Americans.  Here are the first five things you need to know about Obamacare.

1)  For the millions who’ve gone without health coverage because of high premium costs and low wages, the Affordable Care Act could be a lifesaver.  Coverage starts as early as January 1st

2)  Deadline:  Start shopping today.  Keep investigating up until December 15 to get coverage the earlist you can.  You have to be on board by March of next year—or get whacked with tax.

3)  This is can present a problem since the penalty is not really a whole lot.  Many insurance companies are nervous that not enough people will contribute to the costs of what is paid out

4)  Keep checking the exchange websites.  Need more hand holding?  Find a Navigator from the state… or check in with a private insurance BROKER.  FOR FREE.

5)  If you have insurance through your company or medicare… sit back and do NOTHING.  You’re already covered.

Additional info you need to know about the Affordable Care Act:

–          If you have insurance that DOESN’T cover your spouse, spouse goes to exchange and can buy (and may even get a subsidy depending on income level)

–          What if I don’t buy into the exchange? Well, if you get an income tax refund, the government will take the one percent “tax” from that.   It’s uncertain if there will be a line item on taxes for 2014

–          If you already pay for private policy, you can keep it (although IT may be modified to meet new guidelines) AND you can price shop on the Exchange and see if you qualify for a subsidy

–          Questions?  Here’s a web site and phone number!!!  Go to healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596 (will tell you where to go to get STATE exchange sites)

–          DEADLINES PLEASE!!  Dec 15 to enroll and be covered by Jan 1.  Absolute final deadline for enrollment is March 31, 2014

–          What happens if you choose a plan that really doesn’t fit your family?  There will be open enrollment NEXT year, and once EVERY year, so you can change it up.