Here's Your Obamacare Calculator
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) After reading this piece , you should have determined whether you are a candidate for health insurance in the state exchanges. If you are uninsured for any reason, that's you. If you are unsure, go back here and here to look at the list.
So what's next? Dr. Sherry Glied, Ph.D., from the Department of Health Policy and management chair at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health told me that a lot of the success of the Affordable Healthcare Act hinges on how easy it is to use the system.
Well, so far it's not easy. But she says once people get used to things, it will become second nature. We're just haven't acclimated to it yet.
Since I am currently uninsured, I want to be ready to make an informed decision about the actual plans that will be available come October 1. I am going to do my homework now (since it has taken many days to get a handle on how it will work).
This is kind of like getting a new Smartphone. You have no idea how to work it initially and a few days later, it is like you've had it for years.
Follow the steps I took to get educated about the ACA and see how it may affect your family's budget (without wasting a whole bunch of time figuring things out).
(Disclaimer: I am an educated health reporter, and it took many days worth of research and fact-checking to figure this all out and get it down on paper. What must it be like for a regular, busy American who has no idea what it's all about?)
STEP 1: Visit the official government ACA website
I started by entering my email right on that home page to get important ACA news updates. Then, I clicked the interactive, "See your options" button and answered the questions. I found that what I would qualify for depends on my family size, state, age, employment and income. But I also learned that many preventative services and screenings I currently opt out of now without insurance would be covered at no charge (other than paying the premiums). I guess that would be good. The website says I will find lower premium health insurance choices than what I might currently be purchasing (although I am currently not purchasing anything except for my kids' insurance). To enroll on October 1, 2013, I am told I need a social security number and a current tax statement.
This all sounds great, but what's it going to cost me?
STEP 2: Find your state's Healthcare Marketplace
Next, from the same ACA website homepage click "Get Insurance" to find you state's exchange, which is where you will be able to compare costs, plans and purchase new insurance on October 1 for coverage that begins January 1, 2014. I found that my state uses the federal government's marketplace, although many states have their own exchanges you can link to from this page.