Starting October 1st, you can start buying health insurance to get ready for the Affordable Healthcare Law that goes into effect January first.
You can do this online through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
What is the marketplace and how do you work it?
The Health Insurance Marketplace is set up to be your one stop shop for health insurance. You buy your insurance at the state level, but most states are partnering with the federal government for now. The website is healthcare.gov and it is open to anyone, even you you're offered health insurance at work.
"Go look at healthcare.gov. now. Go start exploring it. You'll learn a lot now because a lot of information is out there. There are some tools to help people prepare," Connie Schroeder, the Vice President for Innovation and Integration for Blessing Corporate Services said.
On the site, you can take a short questionnaire to see if you qualify for financial help from the government in buying your health insurance. Please note, this health insurance is not free. You can start buying insurance on October first. In order to avoid paying a fine, you have to have buy your plan buy December 15th.
"All of the plans that will be on the Health Insurance Marketplace must provide ten essential health benefits. There are different levels you can choose from as far as coverage," Stephene Moore, the Regional Director of Health and Human Services for Region 7 in Missouri said.
"There's the bronze plan, the silver plan, the gold plan, and the platinum plan, child-only plan and catastrophic plan," Schroeder said.
The more insurance you have, the higher the premium will be. For example, the bronze plans may cover 60 percent of your healthcare costs. Silver 70 percent, and so on.
Now, let's talk fines.
"The way the regulation works is that you'll be fined each month on a pro-rated basis that you do not have insurance," Schroeder explained.
The law says the penalty will be the greater of a flat dollar amount per person, or a percentage of your taxable income. In 2014, the flat amount is 95 dollars per adult, and half of that for a child under 18. Each year the penalty goes up through 2016. Some people will be exempt from having to have insurance. They include those who don't make enough money to file taxes, those in jail, or undocumented immigrants.
Tuesday night we'll sort through some common misconceptions you may have heard about the new healthcare law and how they could affect you.
And don't miss our half hour special this Thursday at 5 p.m.