Obamacare health insurance markets now open

Obamacare health insurance markets now open

CNN Newsource: Obamacare is at the center of the government shutdown showdown, but as it stands now, the Affordable Care Act has officially gone live.

New online exchanges will allow you to buy policies in all 50 states, even if you have pre-existing medical conditions. But there are still some questions about how it all works.

Talking heads, attack ads, claims and counter-claims with enough distortions to make Pinocchio blush! But when you stop the noise over Obamacare, what is it?

President Obama and many democrats defend it. "The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," said the president.

Most republicans denounce it. "Obamacare is a train wreck," said Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

But love it or hate it, the law is rolling out its most ambitious pieces. If you already have sufficient health insurance or have Medicare, this does not affect you.

If you are among the roughly 48 million without healthcare, you can start shopping on Oct. 1 for a plan at www.healthcare.gov.

President Obama claims, "It's like booking a hotel or a plane ticket."

The competitive plans have Olympic names. "Bronze" is basic, "silver" is mid-range and "gold" and "platinum" are the high-end plans. All must offer the same coverage and all will come with a monthly premium.

What will differ?  The deductibles and co-pays will vary, but President Obama says for many, it will provide good health insurance. "For the price of your cell phone bill or less," he said.

The administration puts that at roughly $100 or less a month, but that is if you qualify for tax breaks and subsidies because of income.

Costs will also vary based on where you live.

Choose by Dec. 14 if you want your new health coverage to start Jan. 1. On March 31, 2014, open enrollment ends and the penalties begin. If you do not have health insurance by then, you could be slapped with a fine.

Click here to learn more about the health insurance marketplaces and to pick your plan.

If you do not have internet access, you can pick your health plan with the help of a customer service representative over the phone 24/7. Just call 1-800-318-2596.

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