Did You Know That You Can Start Shopping For Health Insurance This Week?

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)

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    • Cee

      Ooh interesting. As much as I love Planned Parenthood, it can’t do everything.

    • My2bits

      So exciting! Can’t wait to see my premiums jump over 200% based on Forbes estimate.

      • jessica

        That was an op-ed.

      • CMJ

        Technically, it’s partially true. (But a clearly sensationalized piece that came from a study from the Manhattan Insitutute – a libertarian-leaning think tank) People who originally held catastrophic “cheap” plans will see their premiums rise because under Obamacare those plans are no longer legal. All plans, at minimum have to cover well-care and preventative services. So while the plans are more expensive (for some – mine went up about $6) you will actually get well-care, preventative coverage, and maternity care.

        If you already have non-catastrophic insurance, your premiums might got up the normal inflation amount.

        I’m young and relatively healthy too but catastrophic insurance always scared the everloving crap out of me. My little brother had it (now he gets a monthly subsidy because of Obamacare) and he is even younger and more healthy than I am and was still stressed that something could happen to him. Being young and healthy can go south in the blink of an eye which is what I don’t think some people realize.

      • jessica

        Thank you for writing that all up! I’m supporting myself while I get my masters working as an Affordable Care Act Navigator. It is my job to help people navigate the ACA so to speak and it has been a frustrating experience to say the least in a large part because of all of the misinformation- or partial misinformation- that is out there. And after 8-10 long hours of going over it again and again, I just do not have the energy to do it on the interwebs as well.

      • Nichole

        Misinformation such as: “if you like you plan and your doctor you can keep them”? or “You can get covered for less than your monthly cell phone bill” ( I pay 35 a month my husband pays 160 so my family of 5 should be getting coverage for 195 a month right?)

        Also if this is such a gift that congress and the pres have handed the American people than why do they feel the need to exempt themselves, their staffers, and all political appointees. They get to keep their cadillac plan where tax payers pick up 72% of the cost (roughly 12,000 a year) while telling the rest of us that the affordable…oh wait it’s adorable now, care act is the best thing to happen to us in this generation.

        Oh and the 3.8% tax they added to investment property (but don’t worry it’s only supposed to take from those mean old rich people who make over 200,000 a year, except that the definition of 200 grand as rich is subjective, in some of the mid west: yes, in NY or CA not so much. But we have to make sure those nasty people who have the audacity to make money don’t get to keep it…it’s only fair!

        The whole navigator system is completely suspect, I’m glad you are doing it and seem trained, but there have been news reports of the fed gov giving grants to shelters and half-way houses to train navigators. So now you want to give criminals access to peoples most private information, and your going to pay them to do it. Fan-freaking-tastic there’s no way this can be a bad idea.

      • jessica

        Sigh. Thanks for illustrating my point perfectly. Feel free to avoid us evil navigators. If you do then we’ll have way more time to harvest the brains of the innocents- oops I mean answer questions and help people purchase plans.

    • StealthGent

      Most of my expenses are still transgender related, which most insurances don’t cover and don’t have to cover, so it does me next to no good for my condition. No hormones, no surgery, maybe blood tests and psych visits if they fudge the codes a bit.

      So I get to pay for insurance I can’t use unless a bus hits me, and 200-400$ more of health care.

    • Leafyleafster

      I’m already on state insurance because I’m pregnant and poooooooooor, but I assume I’ll have to do some shopping once the state cuts me off for anything but family planning sixty days after delivery. Fun.

    • sarahjane

      “especially if you are in a situation where you can’t afford insurance”

      …Oh, the irony. I was perfectly able to afford my insurance (also a freelancer) prior to Obamacare. Now, my $94 a month catastrophic policy is well over $200 a month and is no longer considered ‘insurance’ because of the high deductible and limited coverages. That’s exactly the coverage I need. I’m young, healthy and pay my occasional medical bills out of pocket; the insurance is there so I’m covered if something horrifying happened. But now, even if I could afford the doubled premiums of my non-insurance policy I’d still get charged the “tax”/fine for not having any insurance.

      And, depending on how I estimate my income for the year, I’m eligible for anywhere from $0-$11 a month in assistance to pay for a boatload of insurance coverage I never wanted. Yipee.

    • Alex Lee

      Prospective consumers should be aware of Health Insurance Exchange Scam-artists:

      http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/white-house-pushing-health-care-security-measures-20289213

      1. Health Insurance Exchanges do not apply to Seniors already on Medicare.
      2. Enrollment is free. No personal medical information or fees are involved with signing-up.
      Scammers are mostly after your personal identity information and/or your money.