What the Health Care Law Means If You're Already Insured

1:56 AM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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If you already have insurance through an employer, Medicare, or an individual plan, you don't have to do anything when enrollment for the online healthcare "marketplace" opens on Tuesday.

You won't be charged any fines, since your plan counts as "minimal essential coverage."

However, some employers may be dropping their coverage completely.

At the very least, you'll most likely see changes to your current plan.

All health plans will have to expand to provide certain benefits.

Those will include emergency services, prescription drugs, free preventive care, mammograms, vaccinations and more.

You might see higher deductibles or new taxes and fees tacked onto your bill, too. Those fees will be used to help offset the cost for low-income individuals or families.

Starting Tuesday, you have every right to browse and compare different health plans through the online marketplace at www.healthcare.gov.

If you're considering making the switch, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Right now, your employer most likely pays for part of your premiums.

Those are the costs you have to pay per month or per year to be on their plan.

If you decide to find your own plan through the marketplace, your employer doesn't have to pay for those bills, which means it's up to you to pay for those costs out-of-pocket.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your employer offers you coverage that is considered affordable and meets minimum value, you might not qualify for some of the plans on the marketplace.

That's even if your income, age and family size would otherwise qualify you to purchase a plan on the online exchange.

It's considered affordable if you're paying less than 9.5% of your household income on premiums, and it meets minimum value if your employer's plan pays at least 60% of the total cost for medical care. 

For an estimate of how much you pay on a new marketplace plan, use the Kaiser Family Foundation's health insurance calculator. These numbers will vary from the actual rates you will find on the marketplace on Tuesday.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and ask questions about the healthcare overhaul and what it means for you on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.

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