Obamacare is finally about to take its first true breath of life. As the clock is ticking towards the first major milestone since the legislation was passed three years ago, anxiety and uncertainty are mounting on the streets, in boardrooms, and in Washington.
In case you haven’t heard, all Americans (well, almost all) will be required to have health insurance as of January 1st. The 15.4% of Americans without insurance will be able to shop for plans through health insurance marketplaces. The federal government will operate (or jointly operate) the marketplaces in 37 states, and the remaining 16 states and Washington, DC will operate state-based marketplaces. All must be open for business on October 1st.
So what will really happen on October 1st? Don’t worry, folks. This isn’t Y2K. The federal government is even cautioning the public that they should consider this milestone—as significant as it may be for the history books—a “soft launch.” In fact, many of the states operating their own exchanges are cautioning residents to wait a few weeks to prevent overloading the system.
Curious how much the plans on the marketplaces will cost and if you’ll be eligible for a subsidy? You’ll find that out on October 1st too. In the meantime, use the Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidy calculator to estimate your costs and savings through a marketplace plan.
More questions? Stay tuned for more frequent posts about the health law, and if you haven’t already, check out “The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare: Health Insurance Changes Coming Your Way under the Affordable Care Act.”