How Affordable Care Act impacts families - KCTV5

How Affordable Care Act impacts families

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Families with children, if you haven't paid much attention to the upcoming changes in healthcare, this information is just for you.

The Affordable Care Act will impact families with children in many ways.

For example, let's say you are a working family of four. Your household income is between $23,550 and $94,200, which is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

You could go to the Health Insurance Marketplace and shop around for an insurance plan. And that's if you don't have insurance through your employer, or even if you do.

"If you have insurance through your employer, but it is prohibitively expensive, you may be eligible to purchase insurance more affordably through the marketplace," said Jim Torres, a health insurance marketplace counselor.

Many may be left asking what exactly is the health insurance marketplace. Torres and his team are marketplace counselors and work to explain it.

They educate families about the Affordable Care Act, which anyone can access online at www.healthcare.gov.

"The market place is a place where people can go if they are uninsured, they are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid or through their employer, they can go shop for insurance and see if they can find an affordable plan that suits their needs," Torres said.

All of this will kick in soon. Open enrollment begins Oct. 1 and will last until March 31.

On Jan. 1, 2014, people might notice a few changes in their family's healthcare plans - all insurance plans.

"Starting Jan. 1, insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Any insurance company, not just the ones in the market place," Torres said.

That's welcoming news to parents whose children are born with illnesses such as asthma or those who have developed even more severe illnesses.

"Insurance companies can no longer have lifetime caps on benefits for insured persons or they can no longer have annual caps on benefits paid," Torres said.

Another change for families means preventative care, such as immunizations, will be free and included in all health plans.

And insurance companies will be held accountable. If insurance companies don't spend at least 80 percent of a person's premium dollar on medical care rather than advertising and bonuses for executives, Torres said they will have to provide the person a rebate.

You can log on to www.healthcare.gov for more information.

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