The health care law helps people with moderate incomes by making health insurance more available and affordable.
- Exchanges are new marketplaces where you will be able to buy health insurance. You’ll be able to compare the benefits and costs of health plans side-by-side.
- Anyone can buy insurance in an exchange. For example, if you need health insurance because your employer doesn’t make it available, you are self-employed or not working, you have been denied coverage, or you have not been able to afford insurance, you can shop in the exchange in your state.
- You may be able to get tax credits to help you pay for the health insurance you buy in the exchange. The amount of help you can get depends on your income.
- People shopping in the exchange will be able to pick among several levels of health coverage. This will allow you to find a plan that works best for you and your budget.
- All health insurance plans in the exchange must cover essential benefits, including hospitalization, medical care, mental health services, prescription drugs, and rehabilitation services among other benefits. Plans cannot refuse to sell you a policy because of your health status, and must comply with many new consumer protections.
- You can get information on the cost of the health insurance plans when the exchange begins enrollment in every state in late 2013. Coverage starts in 2014.
- You’ll also be able to get insurance outside the exchange regardless of your health status, but you won’t be able to get tax credits there.
Help right now
- If you have been uninsured for at least six months and have been denied health coverage because of your health, you may be able to get coverage now. This coverage – called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan – is already available in your state. This continues until the exchanges start in 2014, when insurers will have to sell coverage to you regardless of your health status.