Americans will be able to shop for coverage through national and state-administered insurance exchanges beginning Oct. 1. Here are 10 things you need to know before open enrollment begins. Sources: ABC News and HealthCare.gov
You can buy health coverage through the exchange program. Go to HealthCare.gov to see your coverage options and cost. If by March 31 you have no coverage, you face a fine of 1% of your yearly income or $95 per person -- whichever is higher.
You can keep it. Because your employer pays part of your premium, the plan might be cheaper than the ones through the exchange program. You can explore options, but you might not qualify for certain savings through the exchange. Check HealthCare.gov.
...will all offer "essential health benefits" for emergency care, maternity, neonatal and pediatric care, outpatient and rehabilitation, counseling and therapy, preventive and wellness care and prescriptions. Some plans may offer more.
...offers benefits with a higher deductible. It's a safety net for unexpected accident or illness. The plan covers three annual primary care visits and preventive services at no cost. To qualify, you must be under 30 or get a "hardship exemption."
...is considered an essential health benefit for children, but not for adults. Adults can choose a plan that includes dental coverage, or opt into a separate dental plan and pay an additional premium.
...varies. Different plans have different costs, but all of them must be approved by state insurance departments. Pricing information will be posted Oct. 1 at HealthCare.gov. You might qualify for cost savings based on your income.
...by their parents' health insurance plan until they turn 26. If a dependent turns 26 during 2014, he or she can enroll in a new health insurance plan even after open enrollment closes March 31.
...won't keep you from getting coverage, even if you've been refused in the past. The exception is for grandfathered individual health plans, but you can buy a new plan through the exchange program and get coverage for pre-existing conditions.
...you might qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, or lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs through the exchange program. Check HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1. Coverage options depend on household income, not employment status.
...you could face a fine of 1 percent of your yearly income or $95/person, whichever is higher. Some life events, like job loss, qualify for a special enrollment period. A 26-year-old who loses coverage of a parent's plan can enroll year-round.