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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Affordable Care Act is Now the Law of the Land - What Next?

The presidential election is over and, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stated recently, Obamacare is now "the law of the land." Although the much-debated issue of affordable health insurance for Americans was not, in fact, a deciding factor for voting Americans, it will now be getting everyone's attention as the January, 2014 deadline approaches for the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Beginning January 1, 2014, Americans will be able to shop for health insurance online. According to a recent online survey of 1,285 Americans, there is much work to be done in educating people as to what to expect when the exchanges are online and open for business. The survey showed that only 29 percent understood what a health exchange is, almost half (48 percent) admitted they will need assistance in learning how to shop for insurance online, almost half (49 percent) have no idea how much their current health insurance costs, and most (86 percent) have never used the Internet to shop for health insurance.

Another deadline to watch for is November 16. This is the deadline for states to take the initiative to set up their own health insurance exchanges, the marketplace where Americans can shop for their own health insurance. States who miss this deadline will have the federal government stepping in to set up exchanges in those states. Whether the states or the government are responsible for establishing the exchanges, all the programs will be online.

Between now and next year, Americans can expect to see much in the way of education on what health exchanges are, how the exchanges work, and what people need to do to shop for their own health insurance. No doubt the media will begin to be flooded with information about this historical, nationwide health insurance exchange system. The best approach for individuals and families who don't receive health insurance through their employer and will be shopping for their insurance is to read, ask questions, and learn as much as they can. This will prepare them to make good choices when it comes to health insurance programs that will best fit their needs and budgets.
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