HOUSTON - We've been talking about Obama Care, Affordable Care Act, health care reform or whatever you want to call it, since it passed in 2010. Now is the time to listen up.
In just seven days, you can begin signing up for the new insurance plans.
KPRC Local 2 consumer expert Amy Davis explains who will and who will not be affected by health care reform.
If you currently have insurance through your employer, health care reform will not change that. You will still have coverage. But if you have not been able to afford insurance because you are self-employed or do not make enough money to pay for an individual policy, this affects you.
"The goal is to get everyone insured," explained Vivian Ho, chair of Health Economics at Rice University's Baker Institute. "I think most people don't realize what's going to happen on October 1st."
Tuesday, October 1 is when Americans can sign up for an insurance policy offered under the new Affordable Care Act. The feds are now calling it the "Marketplace" so you get the idea that you will be shopping for health care coverage.
"Suppose you suddenly had a marketplace to purchase auto insurance and there was a website that posted all of the different prices from the different insurance companies and then also told you what each insurance policy was going to cover," said Ho.
That marketplace is a website. Right now there are no policies or prices posted.
On October 1, all of that information will go online and uninsured consumers will have until the end of March 2014 to sign up for health insurance.
Individuals who make between $11,490 up to $45,960 can receive money from the government in the form of a tax credit to defray the cost of the insurance; but, you still have to sign up and pick the plan that works best for you.
Ho understands the process will be a challenge for many consumers.
"There are some people who don't understand what a co-pay or a deductible is," she said. "And then explain to them, 'Well, this is your network of providers.'"
You have probably heard that you have to pay a penalty if you do not sign up for health insurance. That is true.
Tuesday evening on Local 2 New at 5, we'll have more about that, what it will cost you and your family. Every day this week, we are breaking down health care reform in an easy and understandable way.
We also want to answer any questions you have about the issue. We've posted a lot of resources and valuable information in a special health care reform section on Click2Houston.com.
You can also email your questions to Local 2.
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