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Obamacare 101

Hour 1:           Now that the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace is open for enrollment, what does that mean for North Texans? And how can someone wishing to take part in the program make the most of it? We’ll talk this hour with KERA news reporter Lauren Silverman, who’s reported extensively on how Obamacare will function in Texas.

Lauren passed along this list of resources she’s come across while reporting the Obamacare 101 series:

OVERALL GUIDANCE:

A great place to start for information on Obamacare is online at www.healthcare.gov — or www.cuidadodesalud.gov for Spanish-speakers.

You can also call 1-800-318-2596 24/7 to talk about the health plans with an operator in several languages.

The Kaiser Foundation can give you more specific guidance if you still have any questions.

Guidance on how to choose a plan (and what the different levels of coverage are) is here.

ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS:

There’s a good definition at healthcare.gov.

ELIGIBILTY FOR SUBSIDIES:

The marketplaces will offer tax subsidies to reduce premiums if your income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four in 2013). Families USA has a nice chart showing the federal poverty guidelines for 2013.

Also, on KERA’s Breakthroughs, we have a subsidy calculator that can help you determine if you’re eligible.

SMALL BUSINESS QUESTIONS:

Small business owners (those with fewer than fifty full-time workers), have a separate online health insurance market to browse. It’s called the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP.

Small businesses can also turn to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the advocacy group Small Business Majority – which has weekly webinars for small business owners to learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and SHOP. That’s at SBA.gov/healthcare.

A toll-free number is also available for questions on SHOP: 800-706-7893.

The Internal Revenue Service also provides a Small Business Health Care Credit Estimator to help small companies find out if they’re eligible for the tax credit.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

You can certified application assistor (AKA “navigator”). Here’s how.

And of course, there are community health clinics that can help anyone, regardless of insurance status or eligibility. Here’s a list of federally qualified health clinics.

 

 

 

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