FORT MYERS, Fla. - It's been four years since the President's signature healthcare bill passed, but most Americans are just as confused about the law today as they were four years ago. So here are the top five things you need to know about the new law ahead of Tuesday.
1) You're already benefiting.
Since the bill passed in 2010, your healthcare has already changed in several ways: parents can keep their kids on their insurance plans until they turn 26, kids can no longer be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions, and many plans now offer free preventive care. So what changes on October 1st, 2013?
2) Healthcare exchanges are set to open.
These exchange are open marketplaces where Florida's nearly 3.5 million uninsured will be able to shop around for health insurance to find the best plan that fits their needs - and their wallets.
Florida residents will use an exchange setup by the federal government, because your Florida legislature decided not to create one, in opposition of Obamacare.
There will be four levels of coverage: bronze (the least expensive), silver, gold, and platinum (the most expensive).
The more expensive the premium, the more coverage you get. Pricing is based on the amount of competition in the market place. Current reports suggest that Florida will have 102 competing plans, which should help drive costs down.
3) How affordable is the Affordable Care Act?
According to Department of Health and Human Services, the healthcare packages in the new exchanges are 16% cheaper than originally estimated.
So how much can you expect to pay? A 27-year-old single person making $25,000 a year can expect to pay $218 a month for the silver (middle of the road plan).
That same plan will cost a family of four with an annual income of $50,000 a year, $789 a month.
4) Tax credits can make your premiums go down.
Government tax credits are given out to uninsured Americans who qualify based on their annual income. Those earning up to 400% of the federal poverty line can expect big breaks.
For instance, a 27-year-old single person making $25,000 a year could see premiums drop from $218 a month to $145 and the family of four with an annual income of $50,000 a year could see prices dip from $789 to $282.
5) So what if you're already insured?
You're considered covered already and don't have to change anything.
You may be able to purchase insurance on the open exchange if the health plan your employer offers doesn't cover at least 60% of your current medical costs, or if your employer's coverage costs more than 9.5% of your income.
Starting October 1, 2013 you can sign up on www.healthcare.gov, call in, or speak to a navigator in person at one of the designated locations listed below.
The following locations in Lee County will have an Obamacare navigator:
- McGregor Clinic
- Lee County Human Services
- United Way
The following locations in Collier County will have an Obamacare navigator:
- Catholic Charities
- Redlands Christian Migrant Association