Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Obamacare enrollment begins today

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 8:24 AM

click to enlarge GIVE ME MY OBAMACARE: Lots of people turned out for the Insurance Department's Clinton School rollout of an in-person signup for the new health coverage. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • GIVE ME MY OBAMACARE: Lots of people turned out for the Insurance Department's Clinton School rollout of an in-person signup for the new health coverage.

*Planning to sign up for Obamacare? Or eligible but not signing up? Send me your stories: davidramsey@arktimes.com*

Starting today, Americans who don't get health insurance from an employer or from a public program like Medicare can begin enrolling on the new Health Insurance Marketplace created by the healthcare reform law. (For the 80 percent of Americans who already have insurance through an employer or a public program, nothing is changing today.)

Here is the website where folks can sign up. Perusing it a little bit this morning, the site seems pretty user-friendly...but if you're enrolling, you probably want to wait until this afternoon or tomorrow — it's running slowly at the moment and many people are getting error messages when they try to proceed. You can also use the state's Arkansas Health Connector site, which has more state-specific info and will connect you to the federal site when you click to enroll. 

If you want an in-person experience, the Arkansas Insurance Department is hosting a kickoff event from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Clinton School. There will be trained guides on hand to assist people with enrollment. 

People whose household income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual, $94,200 for a family of four) will qualify for subsidies that will automatically reduce the price of the premium.

People whose household income is at or below 138 percent FPL ($15,856 for an individual,  $32,4999 for a family of four) will qualify for the "private option" and will have free premiums. "Private option" enrollees can also go to their county DHS office for help signing up.  

For more on Obamacare and the new marketplace, my talking head was on Arkansas Week last Friday discussing how the law impacts Arkansans. 

p.s. My wild prediction is that there will be minor glitches somewhere and that this will titillate anti-Obamacare Lost Causers like Rep. David Meeks and Rep. Justin Harris to no end.

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