The Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — will be changing the way most of us get health care when its health care exchanges open their doors on Oct. 1.
The Seattle Times came up with a list of 20 things to know about the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges and what this new law entails. Here are 10 of the most notable things to know about Obamacare.
- You must have health insurance next year in order to avoid paying a penalty.
- You’re pretty much covered if you have an individual plan, but you’ll probably have to change it once Obamacare kicks in. Your insurer will probably inform you of this and chances are that your new plan will cover more.
- Kids can be on their parents’ policy until they are 26 years old.
- You can exchange your insurance through your local insurance-exchange marketplace, but you can also opt to buy individual insurance through the broker or through your current insurer.
- You should probably make an appointment way ahead of time since more insured people equals more people in the waiting room.
- Insurance costs aren’t going down anytime soon. Health care is still a business after all.
- Businesses are required to cover their workers’ insurance until 2015 so there’s a chance you won’t get your insurance through your job.
- Legal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for five years or more can buy insurance on the exchanged and qualify for subsidies, but undocumented immigrants will still have to rely on community clinics and emergency rooms for their health care.
- You can’t sign up for health care whenever you want. There are specific open-enrollment periods where you can sign up for insurance. This year’s sign-up period lasts from Oct. 1 to March 2014 so make sure you get your insurance then. Shorter enrollment periods will exist after this one.
- More information about the ACA will soon be available as seminars, advertisers and info packets about it will soon be everywhere.
You can read more about the Affordable Care Act here.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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