Beginning Tuesday, consumers can start enrolling for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act—also commonly referred to as Obamacare.
President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act will provide health care coverage to 30 million people.
Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that the core of the health care reform act was constitutional.
Some of the act's requirements have already been implemented, and others will continue to be rolled out in coming years.
Under the act, marketplaces are being created, which will allow individuals and small business owners to shop for insurance coverage via Internet-based exchanges.
Coverage will go into effect in January.
The Affordable Care Act requires nearly everyone to have some sort of health care insurance, and it must meet the minimum requirements under the law.
But consumers are exempt from having to purchase health care coverage if the lowest health care option available costs more than 8 percent of a person's household income, according to NBC News.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the new law, so here are the basics—five things consumers need to know about the Affordable Care Act. And click here for more reading.
The impacts of the new law are very specific to each individual situation, David Yoder, co-founder of American Exchange, said.
American Exchange is a new local company whose leaders are helping residents nationwide connect with health insurance through marketplaces.
Cost of health insurance through the new federal marketplaces varies from person to person depending on age, household size and income.
News coverage often generalizes the act’s effects, so Yoder said it is important for each individual to assess their own situation.
Who can get health insurance through the new federal marketplaces?
Individuals who don’t currently have health insurance, employers and anyone who has insurance that isn't "affordable" can get insurance through the exchanges.
People who don't already have insurance—or don’t have insurance with the minimum requirements under the Affordable Care Act—have to buy it through the exchange or pay a "shared responsibility payment" to the federal government, according to the Supreme Court ruling.
For the first year, the penalty for an individual who doesn’t sign up for insurance is $95 a year or 1 percent of a person's income, whichever is greater, and $47.50 for children, according to Nooga.com archives.
Employers now have until 2015 to provide health insurance for employees or pay a penalty under the requirements of the new Affordable Care Act.
And last week, the Obama administration announced that companies that want to buy health plans through the new marketplaces won’t be able to start enrolling until November.
The law impacts businesses differently, depending on the number of employees a company has.
Click here for a more in-depth breakdown about how businesses are impacted.
And anyone who already has health insurance that costs more than 9.5 percent of their income can drop their employers’ coverage and search for more options through the exchange.
If a person’s health insurance doesn’t cost more than 9.5 percent of their income, they can’t get insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Everyone should know how much their current insurance costs.
Yoder said that everyone should know how much their current insurance costs. Because the cost is automatically deducted from their paychecks for many people, a lot of people don’t know what their insurance actually costs.
Know what the cost is for your entire household, Yoder also said.
And know what your household’s adjusted gross income is because that is how eligibility is gauged. Click here for more information.
How much does coverage through the online marketplaces cost?
Each person’s situation varies depending on household size and income, but according to a recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, consumer insurance premiums will generally be lower than people think through the Affordable Care Act.
Premiums nationwide will also be about 16 percent lower than originally expected, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Many people will qualify for upfront tax credits, which lower the cost the consumer will pay.
The Tennessean reported last week that Tennessee has some of the least expensive options, with only two other states having cheaper plans.
After tax credits and discounts, most young people can get coverage for between $50 and $100, although each person’s situation—depending on income, number of children and whether the person’s employer offers affordable care, among other factors—impacts every person’s payment.
Low- to moderate-income families with children have the most to benefit from these laws, Yoder said.
How does navigating the online marketplaces work?
Consumers can go to a website to find a side-by-side comparison of options.
They have to calculate estimated gross household income based on what they estimate for the upcoming year's taxable income.
Then, the consumer can enter that online or give that information to a broker to calculate subsidy and payment options.
Brokers, such as those at American Exchange, can help consumers through the process free of charge.
American Exchange makes money by getting a commission from the insurance carrier.
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