Answers To Your Healthcare Questions

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By Josh Ninke

Once October 1 hits, you can shop online to see what new insurance plans you're eligible for. And once you're eligible, that plan is guaranteed. 

 
"That means that even if you're sick with a chronic illness like cancer or diabetes, the policy can be issued to you," said Michael Patterson with Blue Cross Blue Shield. 
 
And if you're concerned about the cost of your new insurance, there are tax credits that you can apply for from the federal government. 
 
"So if you're a single person under 45 thousand dollars in income or a family of four under 94 thousand dollars in income, then you may qualify for a federal tax credit that works a subsidy that lessens your payment every month," Patterson said. 
 
If you still have questions after checking out the new health care exchange website, there are places locally that are trained to help you navigate the system.
 
"You're looking at determining eligibility, plans, what are those plans supposed to be doing, you've got bronze plans, silver plans, gold plans, platinum... What does that mean? What are the high deductibles, what are the co-pays? People will get confused if they don't have someone to assist them," said Bernell Mapp, CEO of Health Services, Inc. 
 
That's when you can go to places like the River Region Health Center and have someone walk you through the process.
 
But what if you're already insured? Are your healthcare costs expected to go up?
 
"The short answer is yes. There are some fees associated with plans this year. If you have a group plan, probably in the range of three to five percent that the group plans will have to pay on behalf of each individual covered. So yes, it will affect your plan in someway," said Patterson.
 
Once the online marketplace opens Tuesday, it will be open for enrollment for six months, giving you time into 2014 to make your decisions. 
 
Just go to healthcare.gov.
 

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