Q: If I can get insurance through work, can I still buy an exchange plan?
A: Yes. However, you may not qualify for subsidies on the exchange unless your employer's health insurance plan costs more than 9.5 percent of your annual income, among other restrictions.
Q: I'm on Medicare. Do I need to buy health insurance before Jan. 1, 2014?
A: No. Since Medicare is health insurance, beneficiaries are already covered and their plans are already in compliance with the ACA individual mandate. This year, open enrollment for Medicare begins on Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7. For more information: Will Obamacare Affect Medicare? Myths and Facts.
Q: What's an essential health benefit?
A: There are 10 essential health benefits that all exchange plans must cover. These benefits include hospital, emergency, maternity and pediatric care, prescription drug coverage and lab services, among other things. Out-of-pocket costs and deductibles will be capped at $6,350 for individuals and $13,700 for families in 2014. For more information: Health Insurance Definitions: What the Terms Mean.
Q: What kinds of health insurance plans are available on the exchanges?
A: There are five tiers of plans on the state exchanges: platinum, gold, silver, bronze, and catastrophic. The platinum plans offer the greatest amount of coverage, but also have the highest monthly costs; bronze plans offer less coverage but are more affordable. Catastrophic plans only cover the most basic of care in the event of an emergency. More information: Which Tier is Right for You?
Q: Can I just get catastrophic health coverage?
A: Catastrophic health coverage is only available if you are younger than age 30 or unable to find insurance that costs less than 8 percent of your income. For more information: 'Bronze' Plans vs. Catastrophic Coverage.
Q: Where can I find more information about buying health insurance?
A: U.S. News & World Report's guide to health insurance is a good place to start; select your state to see what's available where you live. For more detailed information about the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), you can also visit healthcare.gov.
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