As of October 1st, Americans can shop online for affordable healthcare — much like they shop for clothes, shoes or hot dates on Match.com! Here are a few resources to make navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace and understanding "Obamacare" easier for you.
Healthcare.gov is the official home of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Head over to the Marketplace to discover and compare affordable health care plans for you or your loved ones. You can also find out if you qualify for free or reduced-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period lasts until March 31, 2014. Starting then, anyone without insurance will be taxed 1% of their income and have to wait until the next open enrollment period (October 2014-March 2015) to use the Marketplace again. You’ll get your money back (as a tax return) if you spend three or less months uninsured because of a life-changing event like unemployment or divorce.
+ Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood has set up a site to explain what the new health care law is and what it exactly it means for you. Check it out for more info on coverage, important deadlines and even a handy calculator to estimate what your insurance might cost through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
+ Project WNYC
Check out Project WNYC’s "Obamacare" 101 to learn more about how Obamacare will affect your existing insurance. The site breaks down exactly what to do if you're currently insured privately, through work, on your parents’ plan (if your parents have insurance, it should also cover you until you're 26), on a spouse’s plan, on Medicaid, etc. Beginning on January 1st, 2014, all plans will be required to cover ambulance care, emergency room services, maternity and newborn care, hospitalization, mental health care, prescription drugs, rehabilitative devices, preventative care, and chronic disease management, lab tests and pediatric care. Patients with preexisting conditions will no longer be denied of or dropped from health insurance coverage.
+ Jimmy Kimmel
Yep, Jimmy Kimmel wants to teach us about health care. Most importantly, he’d like to clarify that "Obamacare" and the Affordable Care Act are exactly the same thing. "Obamacare" is just a nickname for the Affordable Care Act, which was implemented back in 2010. The Act calls for health insurance reforms until 2022, so expect many large and small changes to U.S. health care in the near and far future.