The Affordable Care Act and you: Part 6

By WEEK Producer

September 26, 2013 Updated Nov 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM CDT

In less than a week, the key part of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, kicks in.

On October 1, those who are uninsured, or do not like their current policy, can go shopping for more affordable coverage.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to give Americans new affordable options for health coverage and preventative care.

You cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and insurers cannot put lifetime limits on benefits.

The ACA gives you a chance to compare and choose plans through the website www.healthcare.gov.

There are four categories in the marketplace. They range from platinum, which has the highest premium but lowest out-of-pocket costs, down to bronze, which has the lowest premiums but highest out-of-pocket costs.

According to Get Covered Illinois, the lowest proposed monthly rate for a 25 year old in Peoria who chooses the Bronze coverage is $128. The premiums go up with age, for a 40 year old the lowest monthly rate is $163 and for a 60 year old it is $346 a month.

These plans will be offered through eight insurance companies.

There are also "catastrophic plans" for people who are under the age of 30 or have low-incomes. These plans have low premiums but high deductibles.

Some Illinoisans could end up paying no premium at all, if they qualify for Medicaid, which has been expanded to cover low-income residents.