The misinformation swirling around the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, has many Americans confused.
Insurance provider Scott Haile of Scott Haile & Co. says he has been swamped with phone calls since the national health care plan took effect Oct. 1. Haile has been credentialed to assist in the enrollment of customers in the Affordable Care Act and says he and his staff have spent about a year educating themselves on the new law.
“The key things to remember are No. 1, this is an individual mandate,” said Haile. “Everyone is supposed to have healthcare by Jan. 1, 2014. If you don’t, it’s like auto insurance. You can get a citation. No. 2 is this is really going to help people with pre-existing conditions who haven’t been able to get insurance. This allows everybody in the country to get insurance, no matter their pre-existing condition.”
The following is a question and answer segment pertaining to the Affordable Care Act.
Q: Do I have to enroll in Obamacare if I already have health insurance?
Q: When does open enrollment begin and end?
A: Enrollment began Oct. 1 and runs through March 31, 2014.
Q: What happens if I miss open enrollment?
A: You will have to wait until the next open enrollment period starts, which will be October 2014.
Q: Will I be fined if I don’t have insurance?
A: Yes. The fine is 1 percent of your income or $95, whichever is greater.
Q: Will I pay more going through a broker?
A: No. In fact, a knowledgeable broker can steer you toward the plan that best fits you and your family.
Q: Should I start trying to sign up now?
A: No. There have been a number of glitches in the system. The government says 30,000 people were enrolled the first day, although millions of people were on the website. The website is www.healthcare.gov. It will probably be best to wait until mid-October.
Q: Will I be able to afford it?
A: Tax credits and other assistance will be available for low-income enrollees. Deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses can be adjusted to help lower premiums. Many poor residents will end up getting insured for free.
Q: How will I know if I’m eligible for a tax credit or assistance?
A: It’s based on annual household income, size of family, and the type of plan you’re getting.
For more information, Scott Haile & Co. can be reached at 473-1000.