shutterstock_155761580__1380472998_142.196.156.251Are you confused about how the new health care laws will affect you? I know I am. Being an artist and freelancer, I have always had to maintain my own health care coverage. This has not been easy – and thanks to some recent financial hardship, I am totally without insurance. The exchanges open this week, and you can actually start shopping for coverage as early as October 1. I’m thrilled.

From The New York Times :

The exchanges are likely to be most attractive to people who qualify for subsidized coverage. Individuals with low and moderate incomes may be eligible for a tax credit, which can be used right away, like a gift card, to reduce their monthly premiums. People with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage or charged more (this applies to most plans outside the exchanges, too). And all of the plans on the exchanges will be required to cover a list of essential services, from maternity care to mental health care.

You can visit HealthCare.gov to fill out a survey that will provide links with useful information. Starting October 1, the site will actually have plan costs and information. This is exciting. If you are looking for coverage, make sure you do it through HealthCare.gov to avoid fraudulent sites. HealthCare.gov will provide links to exchanges offered in your state.

If you’re looking for answers about The Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood devotes a page on their site with some simple explanations and answered questions. They also have a help page where you can sign up for email updates. If you haven’t already signed up, you should.

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(photo: Gelpi JM/ Shutterstock)