By Nick Wing
On Oct. 1, the long-feared national nightmare finally arrives.
Obamacare, the massive health care reform law passed in 2010, will make its latest mark with the launch of its health insurance exchanges. When they officially open for business, 240 million Americans will have to start doing this:
If you’re like 80 percent of Americans, you can chill out, just like this dog on a hammock.
The health insurance exchanges that are rolling out next week are designed to make it easier for people without insurance, or who buy insurance on their own, to get coverage. But if you are one of the roughly 240 million Americans that already have insurance through an employer, or are enrolled in a government program like Medicare, you can stay on that plan.
For the millions of Americans that will begin shopping for health insurance on online marketplaces next week, your course of action will depend on which state you live in. So will the cost of coverage.
For a basic overview of how much you can expect to pay for your individual plan, check out this nifty Obamacare premium calculator, which gives you a basic overview of the rate and subsidies available to you, based on your income, state of residence and family size.
In order to qualify for coverage beginning next year, people must sign up before Dec. 14. So if you know anybody who is uninsured, share this calculator with them so they know what their options are. The more people who sign up, the lower the rates will be.Coverage purchased through these exchanges will begin Jan 1., 2014, when the individual mandate kicks in. If you don’t receive an exemption and simply choose to remain uninsured after March 31, 2014, when open enrollment closes, you will be subject to a penalty under that mandate. It will cost you up to $95 or 1 percent of your annual income, whichever is higher, and the rate will increase in subsequent years.