Monday, August 12, 2013

Finding Out About the New Health Care Law--by Phone and by Computer Chat. (and Guessing How Much Help You Can Get)

The Affordable Care Act will continue its rollout.  Parts of the law have already taken effect: the prohibition of refusing health insurance for children with pre-existing conditions, the option to include children up to 26 years old on their parent's policies, etc.  Starting October 1st, the open enrollment period starts for the health insurance marketplace, and will run till March 31st.  But where do you call for more information?  And what sorts of financial breaks might you be eligible to get?

First of all, if you have health insurance under a plan that is "grandfathered, (that existed as of March 23, 2010), you don't have to sign up for new coverage.  But if you don't have insurance, or want to look into changing your plan, you can explore your options.

Each state will have different market conditions: some have expanded Medicaid, some not.  Some have their own state exchanges, and some states opted to have their exchange run by the federal government.  So where can you go for information?

There's a toll free number open 24/7 : 1-800-318-2596.  It's staffed by humans all the time, who will talk to you.  If you want a computer chat, you can go here.  If you want to read up first, go to

But what kind of subsidies may you be able to get to help you pay for health insurance?  One place that you can get a good guesstimate is the interactive site run by the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, the subsidy calculator.  Put in your income, the number of adults and kids in your household, and whether you use tobacco, and you can get an idea of the subsidy that you could be eligible for.  They also have an FAQ page dealing with the ACA.


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