Affordable Care Act: Frequently Asked Questions - KCTV5 News

Affordable Care Act: Frequently Asked Questions

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

CBS 5 News Advocate Dave Cherry is cutting through the clutter to help you understand how the Affordable Care Act will impact you.

Here are some frequently asked questions by CBS 5 News viewers and responses by your CBS 5 Advocate.

"We have until March 31, 2014, to sign up for coverage at the new health insurance marketplace, if I sign up during that six-month window, will my coverage be retroactive to January 1?"

Dave Cherry: No, if you're uninsured, you must enroll in a new health plan at healthcare.gov by Dec. 15 if you want your coverage to start Jan. 1. If you enroll anytime after Dec. 15, your coverage will typically start six weeks from your enrollment date.

"I know there are different levels of health plans on the government marketplace but in a worst-case health scenario, will my out-of-pocket maximum be more based on the plan I choose?"

Dave Cherry: There are four levels of plans: bronze, silver, gold, platinum. The higher the metal, the less you pay for each individual service, but the out-of-pocket maximum you pay in a year for covered services is the same on all four plans. For 2014, it's just more than $6,000 for individuals and just under $13,000 for families.

"I heard I won't be eligible for a federal subsidy if my employer offers me health insurance and I turn it down to buy my own coverage, is this true?"

Dave Cherry: In almost all cases, the answer is "Yes" so keep your employer coverage. But in a select few cases, if the feds consider the employer's plan is too expensive for employees, then you can drop it, and you may be eligible for a subsidy to buy your own coverage on the marketplace. Your employer will advise you if it falls into that category.

"I want to choose a plan on the federal marketplace at healthcare.gov, but I don't want to choose the wrong one. Is there any place I can go for help?"

Dave Cherry: There's a toll-free call center at 800-318-2596 and in-person help too. People in the Valley have been trained to help you apply and enroll. They're called navigators. They're available through many agencies like the Greater Phoenix Urban League and the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers.

"How does the Affordable Care Act specifically help women?"

Dave Cherry: Women have rights now that never existed before. You can't be charged more than men just because you're a woman. In the past, women routinely paid 20% to 40% more than men for the same coverage. You can't be denied coverage because you're pregnant and you get free preventative care like mammograms.

If you have a question about the Affordable Care Act, email Dave or leave a message on his Facebook page.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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