Five quick Q and As on Obamacare

Exchange goes online Oct. 1, 2013

SAN DIEGO - Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins Oct. 1, 2013.

In San Diego County, an estimated 18 percent of people do not have any health insurance and even if you have insurance, you may want to shop around.

Team 10 boiled down the 900-page Affordable Care Act into five quick key points.


Question: Who is covered?

Short answer: Everyone.

If you do not have health insurance, you can buy it with government subsidies – based on your income level. 

You buy it through the state's "health insurance exchange."

If you already have insurance through your job, you have the option to buy from the exchange.

However, depending on your income, you may not be eligible for subsidies.


Question: What will it cost you?

Short answer: It depends.

The subsidies are on a sliding scale, based on income. Tax credits can also offset costs.

A family of four earning up to $94,200 is eligible for tax credits and so is a single person earning up to $45,960.

Also, you are required to have health insurance or face a fine of $95 for each uninsured adult and $47.50 for each uninsured child. The rates will go up after the first year.


Question: How can you price your options?

Short answer: Compare with calculators.

The government and the Kaiser Family Foundation have calculators (mobile users: to help you figure this out. 


Question: Are there coverage improvements for employer plans?

Short answer: Yes.

The new law guarantees you access, regardless of pre-existing health conditions. 

It also limits out-of-pocket maximum payments on employer plans and the law ensures rates cannot be increased because of special health care needs.


Question: What changes as of Oct. 1?

Short answer: Nothing.

That is just the date to begin enrollment if you buy insurance outside of an employer plan.

Health insurance coverage begins on Jan. 1 if you buy it by then.

Open enrollment goes through March of 2014.


There are 13 health plans across California but not all are available in San Diego.

If your employer has more than 100 people, you will not be eligible to shop the state's marketplace. (mobile users:

To find low-cost or free health care clinics in San Diego, click here. (mobile users:

For a summary of how employer-sponsored insurance is affected, click here. (mobile users:


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