How to shop for health insurance

Open enrollment begins October 1st

Open enrollment for health insurance begins on October 1st under the Affordable Care act, commonly known as Obamacare.

In California, the program is being administered by Covered California. The organization has set up a website at http://www.coveredca.com/ where people can get quotes on what it will cost to insure themselves and their dependents. Those with additional questions can also call 800-300-1506.

More than five million Americans do not have health insurance. They will need to get it, or face a one percent tax on their income beginning in 2014.

Open enrollment will continue through March 31, 2014.

In the weeks and months ahead, an advertising campaign will attempt to reach those without insurance and get them to sign up. There will also be outreach workers sent to local communities to connect with the uninsured at health fairs, shopping centers, and other gatherings.

The Covered California website answers many of the most frequently asked questions about acquiring health insurance through the program.

http://www.coveredca.com/ has a cost estimate calculator where household income can be entered to receive immediate quotes on the cost of different health care packages.

Monthly premium assistance - in the form of an immediately applied tax credit - reduce costs on a sliding scale based on household income. 

Those with employer sponsored health insurance, or with MediCal or Medicare, will not need to change anything.

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