Complex health care law signup begins
Tuesday was the first day for previously uninsured persons to sign up for the sweeping new health care law called the Affordable Health Care Act or “Obamacare” depending in which side of the political fence you’re on.
People must sign up by Dec. 15 if they want coverage to begin Jan. 1. Here’s the simple part. Go to www.healthcare.gov. You’ll be asked to enter your zip code.
Millions of people did that Tuesday, so many that there were problems with setting up accounts, glitches that would be fixed as the enrollment period progressed.
You must then set up an account and provide information, such as your name, address, age, number of people in your family, household income, employer and whether you have access to insurance elsewhere. You’ll also have to say whether you are a smoker, since insurance carriers can charge tobacco users more.
You can also apply for a federal subsidy, which may require you to provide pay stubs and certain tax forms if the income you enter doesn’t match Internal Revenue Service records.
Enrollees should learn instantly whether they qualify for the subsidy, which they can apply to insurance coverage right away.
You’ll also find out whether you are eligible for Medicaid, and whether you can enroll your children in the government health program for kids, known as CHIP.
Then comes the enrollment process. Applicants can learn about the various insurance policies available in their area, including deductibles, out- ofpocket costs, doctor networks and benefits packages.