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New health care law insurance sign ups start Oct. 1

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 12:02 am | Updated: 3:58 pm, Thu Sep 19, 2013.

The sign-up period for insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act — often dubbed Obamacare — will begin on Oct. 1 for new health insurance exchanges and subsidized coverage. The News-Miner is interested in hearing from individuals who may be affected by the upcoming changes.

Small-business owners, young people, uninsured adults and middle-class families are invited to let us know how they may be affected by the law, which requires individuals to purchase coverage or pay a penalty and will eventually require some businesses to provide it to their employees or pay a penalty.

Please contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518 or email jrichardson@newsminer.com.

About the law

Not familiar with the key components of the controversial law and what it aims to accomplish?

Here’s some summary information from The Associated Press:

• Health insurance marketplaces in every state will provide options for millions of people who don’t have job-based coverage, who can’t afford their own plan or have a health problem that would get them turned down. The federal government will run the markets in states that refused to do so. (Alaska is one of those states.)

• The coverage won’t be free, even after sliding-scale subsidies keyed to your income.

• Next year, most Americans will have a legal obligation to get covered or face fines. Some people who now purchase bare-bones individual plans will complain the new plans cost too much. Others, in good health, may resent the government telling them to purchase insurance they don’t think they need.

• Businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to provide insurance to their employees or pay a penalty. President Obama has ordered the postponement of this requirement.

• The number of uninsured people is expected to drop markedly, bringing the United States closer to other economically advanced countries that guarantee coverage.

• The combination of subsidized private insurance through the new markets, plus expanded Medicaid in states accepting it, could reduce the number of uninsured by one-fourth or more next year. Current estimates of the uninsured range from about 49 million to well more than 50 million.

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