October 1 is the kick-off of the next big feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s the day that Connecticut’s new health insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, is set to open for business. Opinions are flying freely, predicting a wide range of outcomes from “Obamacare will crash and burn the nation’s economy” to “it’s simple and affordable to all.”
But the facts about the ACA are available.
To start with, October 1 is not a deadline for uninsured individuals and small businesses to make decisions about their health care. It is a deadline for the government that requires the new marketplaces go live.
For uninsured individuals and families they will find: a new set of health coverage choices; free help from certified assisters to guide people through the process of making a decision about what’s right for them; discounts to those who qualify; and, new protections from unfair insurance practices. The ACA gives individuals until March 31, 2014 to make a decision about getting covered – or not. And the open enrollment period will begin again each fall.
For small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, there is no requirement to provide health coverage for employees, but there will finally be some options for them to consider. Just like individuals there will be free help from certified insurance brokers to help them make decisions about what’s right for their business, and tax credits for qualifying businesses. And beginning October 1, enrollment is open to small businesses year round.
And there are more facts where those came from. Two of the best resources to help people make informed decisions about their own health care are: