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The Affordable Healthcare Act is at the center of the debate in Washington, D.C. as new health exchanges open on Tuesday. Nearly 900,000 Tennesseans will soon have access to coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions. About 85% of Tennesseans who already have health insurance will not see much of a difference on Tuesday.
Joyce Coggin is almost constantly sick with chronic bronchitis and asthma. For several years the 55 year old has lived without health insurance. On Tuesday she’ll be able to apply for coverage through new health insurance exchanges. I think it’s great for people that don’t have it, or people that have a lot of health problems like I do, says Joyce Coggin.
It all starts online at healthcare.gov. Think of it as a shopping mall where individuals and families can shop and sign up for coverage, and choose between dozens of health plans.
With few exceptions, the ACA requires all Americans to have health insurance in 2014, or pay a penalty. The new health plans are not free. The average premium under the cheapest bronze plan will be about $181 per month. A better silver plan will cost around $235 a month. However, Tennesseans will enjoy some of lowest rates in the nation, and tax credits will help reduce costs. You might be eligible for a new federal tax credit that will offset your monthly premiums for that private coverage that you purchase in the marketplace, says John Graves with the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.
Joyce Coggin says she is tired of worrying everytime she needs to see a doctor or buy medicine. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, says Coggin. She’s not paying attention to the politics in Washington. She says the Affordable Care Act will give her peace of mind.
Although folks can start signing up for coverage on Tuesday, the new plans will not take effect until January 1. And remember, if you’re uninsured, and don’t sign up within the next six months, you could pay a penalty next year. For more information and to sign up go to healthcare.gov.
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