The start of health insurance exchanges, the most important provision of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) began allowing individuals to enroll today. The start was somewhat inauspicious. The start of “Obamacare” coincides with a federal government shutdown. Additionally, some exchanges websites, including healthcare.gov, were not operational due to user volume.
Nevertheless, today is a new day and certainly and exciting time to be a healthcare economist. Below, I list a few questions many of you may have and provide some answers with links:
Will the government shutdown affect the health insurance exchanges? The answer is no. As the USA Today states, “Because they are already funded, the exchanges are not affected by the government shutdown that began at midnight when Congress failed to produced a new spending plan.”
Where do I sign up for Obamacare? If you do not have insurance or have insufficient coverage through an employer, you can sign up for Obamacare at healthcare.gov.
When do I need to pay for coverage? Consumers who want to be covered by insurance by Jan 1, 2014 must pay their first premium by Dec 15, 2013.
Does Obamacare have any precedent? is not an entirely new invention. Massachusetts has implemented similar health insurance exchanges years earlier. NPR describes the good and bad of Massachusetts experience in detail.
I want to know more about Obamacare. Where can I learn more? Politico has a nice overview of the Affordable Care Act.