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Obamacare sign-up starts soon. What do you need to know?

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Obamacare sign-up starts soon. What do you need to know?

By Craig Smith. CREATED Sep 12, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Whether an accident or an illness sends you looking for health care, you'll need to make a decision soon.  The sign up period for Obamacare starts in less than a month. 

Critics first called it Obamacare.  Now even the President uses the term.

By January 1st you need to either have health insurance, buy private insurance through a government marketplace, or pay a penalty you probably have some questions.

The system starts taking sign-ups October 1st.

We have some answers from David Sayen, Regional Administrator of the agency that will handle the program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

---ALREADY COVERED BY WORK?

Craig Smith/KGUN: "Suppose I have a health plan through my work right now.  Should I be exploring this too or just leave things alone? 

David Sayen: We like to say if you like the health care arrangement you have right now, you're good, you can keep it, everything will be fine.

David Sayen: "There are employers that only offer coverage for the employee. So the exchange-marketplace would be a place where you could buy coverage for a child on his or her own or for wife and child, wife, and so forth."

---UNEMPLOYED?

Craig Smith/KGUN: "Say I'm somebody who's unemployed.  What should I do?"

David Sayen: "They'd be a great candidate to go to the marketplace and because of the subsidies available there, may be able to buy insurance as a deep discount."

---LOW INCOME, LARGE FAMILY?

Craig Smith/KGUN: "How about if I'm low income, large family?"

David Sayen: "Family size is simply an adjustment to the subsidy rate.  For example if you have a family of four, in total, you're eligible for a subsidy all the way up to 92 thousand dollars a year, which is four times the Federal poverty rate. But if you family's even bigger it goes even higher. So it's worth taking a look if you're in that situation."

---DON'T WANT HEALTH INSURANCE?

Craig Smith/KGUN: "How about if I'm young, healthy, feeling immortal, feeling like I don't want to participate at all?"

David Sayen: "There is a penalty for people on their income tax that don't have health insurance. It's modest in year one but it grows over time."

"There are policies that are a good fit.  There's the lowest price policy, the bronze policy and for people under 30 there's a catastrophic policy that gives you three free doctor visits, three free preventive services after that you've got a five thousand dollar deductible."
     
Sayen says if you have a serious, young person's accident like a really bad fall from a skateboard or a leg break from skiing you could easily blow through a five thousand dollars deductible.
      
You can find more answers and sign up through the healthcare.gov website, or call 1-800-318-2596
 

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press