Health Exchanges Set to Launch Oct. 1, Interview with Marlene Baca

While lawmakers continue to fight over the Affordable Care Act on the brink of government shutdown, the new insurance marketplaces where millions of uninsured Americans will go to shop for plans are scheduled to go live on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

KOB Eyewitness News 4's Facebook page has been flooded with questions about affordable coverage. Who does this apply to? Lovelace HealthPlan told KOB people who can't afford coverage through their work and people who don't have health insurance.

One question KOB has been getting a lot is whether or not there is there a penalty for those who don't sign up for affordable coverage. KOB spoke with Lovelace Health Plan and found out there is a penalty for uninsured individuals. In the first year, it will be $94 per uninsured adult and $47.50 per uninsured child.

One viewer asked KOB on our Facebook page, "How does this affect Native Americans?" Marlene Baca with Lovelace Health Plan said they will have some special exceptions when it comes to enrolling in the exchange.

"When we look at the subsidy amounts for other individuals, the Native Americans will qualify for no cost share at less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level versus all none Native Americans would be qualifying at less than 250 percent," Baca said.

Shelly wrote on our Facebook page asking, "What if you're low income but make too much income for Medicare? Do you qualify for financial assistance?"

"Yes you do. There are going to be two types of subsidies that will be available," Baca said. "So an individual that is less than 250 percent of federal poverty level will qualify or premium reduction as well as cost share reduction and any individual that is in between the 250 percent and 500 percent of federal poverty level will qualify for premium assistance."

As for deadlines to sign up, affordable care coverage won't begin until Jan. 1, 2014, so individuals and families will have until the end of the year to shop for a plan


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