A small group of volunteers with the organization Organizing for Action gathered in Miller Plaza Thursday evening in an effort to spread awareness about "Obamacare" education, and they listened to Mayor Andy Berke give a short talk on the issue.
Berke told a story about when he was in the state legislature and he heard from a man who was hard-working and had a good job, except the job didn't offer benefits. The man was worried about healthcare.
The mayor used that story as a segway into speaking about the need for education about the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly called "Obamacare."
He also mentioned Erlanger's struggles with uncompensated care costs, which come when people who don't have health insurance come to the emergency room. The hospital ends up paying for those services.
Uncompensated care costs Erlanger about $85 million a year.
President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act will provide access to health care coverage to 30 million people.
It includes provisions such as preventing insurers from denying benefits based on pre-existing conditions. It allows people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. It requires coverage to include a free annual wellness visit, among an array of other benefits.
Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that the core of the health care reform law was constitutional.
Some of the law'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.
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.
Marketplaces opened on Oct. 1 so people can start shopping for insurance.
People who already have insurance can drop their employers' offerings and purchase plans from the new marketplaces but only if their current coverage costs more than 9.5 percent of their salary.
Click here for more information.
Click here for information about deadlines for signing up and penalities.
Updated @ 12:22 p.m. for clarity.
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