The Affordable Care Act and you: part 7

By WEEK Producer

October 2, 2013 Updated Nov 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. --  A Kaiser Family Foundation/NBC News Poll found that Americans are both worried and confused about the new health insurance exchanges that opened Tuesday.

In this week's Affordable Care Act in Illinois report, News 25's Eric Greene answered some of your health insurance questions.

We asked for your questions on our News 25 Facebook page in the hopes of clearing up any confusion you may have now that the marketplace is open.

 

Q: Our first question is from Michael. He was wondering why individuals are able to shop online, but that small business owners will have to wait a few more weeks.

A:  "They wanted to make sure that the individual marketplace was up, the health insurance marketplace was up and functional, before concentrating on the small groups and the SHOP exchange,” said Bill Shock of the Unland Companies. “The SHOP exchange is available, it is just available if someone will phone in to fill out a paper application and go forward with kind of approach.”

It is hoped the SHOP exchange will be available online by November 1.

 

Q. Our next question is from Sabrina, who hits a key part of the ACA. Sabrina asked “Will people with pre-existing conditions be able to get insurance and is there a waiting period for treatment of that condition?”

A:  "The answer is yes,” Shock said. “They can get insurance that does not consider pre-existing conditions. All of the plans are not allowed to apply pre-existing conditions nor waiting periods.”

 

Q: Daniel asked “How and where do we need to start looking to shop so we don't get fined?

A: First-off go to www.getcoveredillinois.gov.

"If they don't buy coverage by the end of March, though, they'll have to wait until next year to purchase plans,” said Bruce Allen of Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

To be covered starting January 1, 2014, you must enroll by December 15 and, as Bruce Allen said, you have until the end of March to sign up to avoid a penalty.

In the first year, the penalty is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, with a max of $285 per family.

Those penalties go up substantially in the following years.

 

Q: Finally someone asked if dental coverage is included in the exchange.

A: There will be dental offered as an extra policy.

 

One last note: As we reported last night, scammers are targeting people signing up on the exchange. Do not give out your personal information on the phone and do not use a website that ends in dot-com, only use those with dot-gov such as get covered Illinois.gov.

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