The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) went live this week. Everyone can now go to online exchanges to compare the costs and benefits of various health care plans.
Here are answers from Healthcare.gov, to frequently asked questions about the new marketplace. You can also watch a video online that provides helpful information: WATCH VIDEO.
1. How does the ACA affect me if I already have insurance?
• If you have health insurance through your university, employer or parents, it won't likely affect you. You can keep your insurance the way it is.
2. What if I don't have insurance right now or I won't soon?
• If you don't have insurance you’ll be able to purchase different levels of insurance coverage options.
• The vast majority of uninsured millennials will be eligible for free or reduced-cost coverage -- depending on income level.
• Medicaid (which provides free or low-cost coverage for many low-earning Americans) is also being expanded, and nearly 3.5 million young people will be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
3. What are some of the biggest changes from current health insurance plans?
• Americans with pre-existing conditions won’t be turned down or charged more by insurance companies.
• Anyone who buys a plan from one of the exchanges will also have guaranteed coverage for mental health, prescription birth control, preventative care, and check ups.
4. When do I have to enroll? What happens if I don't enroll?
• You have from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 to enroll in a healthcare plan.
• If you decide not to get health insurance, you'll be charged a fine of $95 per adult or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater.
• If you opt-out and then get sick, you may have to wait months to sign up for insurance because the exchanges will be limited to a specific annual enrollment period.
5. When do the actual plans start?
• Americans who get health insurance through the new exchanges will have coverage beginning on January 1st, 2014.
To learn more and find answers to more questions, go to Healthcare.gov.