Health Care Marketplaces available for consumers October 1, 2013

Health Care Marketplaces have been developed by the states and the federal government. Individuals will be able to compare plans and prices as they shop for health insurance starting October 1, 2013.

The new health care law, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), requires millions of Americans to shop for health insurance through what is being called an insurance exchange or insurance marketplace. Starting October 1, 2013, individuals can go online to a website to view health insurance options, compare prices between plans and purchase health insurance coverage. If you are covered by an employer, your health insurance coverage will continue through your employer and you will not have to pick a plan. Also, if you are covered by Medicare, you will not have to pick a new plan. People who work for small employers with no health care coverage, people who are self-employed or people who were denied coverage based upon a preexisting condition will need to seek coverage through the new marketplace. With the new insurance exchange system, individuals will be able to find out online if they are eligible for Medicaid or eligible for a tax credit subsidy to help pay for their insurance premiums. Michigan State University Extension can help you choose a “Smart Choice” insurance plan.

States have decided if they are going to run the marketplaces, if the federal government is going to run the marketplace or if they will create a partnership between the state and federal government. If the federal government runs the marketplace, it will offer a menu of all qualified private insurance plans. If the state decides to run the marketplace, it may narrow down the options offered by companies by negotiating with the insurance companies for a few defined options. If a partnership is formed between the state and the federal government, the state will select the plans that will be offered and the federal government will set up and run the marketplace with the plans selected by the state. As a consumer, you will have access to healthcare coverage you may not have had in the past. Once you have picked your plan, your coverage will begin January 1, 2014. To learn more about the new insurance marketplace, go to www.HealthCare.gov which is the governmental website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which explains the new Affordable Care Act. Michigan residents will sign up for health care plans through this federal site. 

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