The federal health law’s individual marketplaces are scheduled to start enrollment on October 1. Nearly all Americans will be required to have health insurance starting January 1, 2014, or else they will be liable for a tax penalty. There is considerable confusion about the law. People aren’t sure if they qualify and they have no clear idea of how much insurance might cost.
To help listeners determine possible changes in their own health insurance costs, NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation have developed a Subsidy Calculator to illustrate health insurance on premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”) created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You can enter different incomes, ages, and family sizes to get an estimate of your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance. For more information on methodology and to read answers to frequently asked questions, click here.
Simple guide to understanding how the Affordable Care Act exchanges will work for those of you who do not have currently have health insurance and aren’t eligible for health insurance through your employer.
If you are such a person, I strongly encourage you to get health insurance through the exchanges as close to October 1st as you possibly can. It won’t be very expensive and will allow you to protect against financial calamity for you and your family, while also allowing you free access to preventative care, which will keep you healthier.
I know it won’t be free, but it’s worth it: If you get in a horrible car accident or something, you won’t have to deal with bankruptcy AND physical therapy at the same time, which is a real bonus.