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What the Affordable Care Act means for you

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 24 2013 05:00:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 25 2013 03:06:05 PM CDT

Health care changes are coming.

Health care changes are coming.

Enrollment for President Obama's Affordable Care Act begins one week from Tuesday.

If you have insurance at your job now, you're covered, but if you are one of the millions of Americans who couldn't afford it in the past, you need to do your homework before signing up.

Want to know what the Affordable Care Act means for you?

Have a look at our health care reform section for all the details or you can visit Healthcare.gov and answer a few questions. You'll be directed to a list of insurers.

But here are the basics beyond the initial sign up:

"There is financial help available for people who earn up to 400 percent of the poverty level," said Claire McAndrew, with Families USA.

McAndrew said that means singles who earn $46,000 a year and families of four that bring home $90,000 can receive financial help to obtain insurance.

The act also ends pre-existing condition exclusions for children and allows parents to keep their kids on their insurance until the age of 26.

Preventative care for things like cancer screenings are free of charge, and you can choose a doctor from the plan's network.

The act says your carrier must publicly justify cost increases and must stick to the 80-20 rule.

"Which says that insurance companies have to spend at least 80 percent of consumers premiums on actual medical care instead of things like marketing, profits, bonuses, etc.," said McAndrew.

Healthcare.gov also offers coverage information for small businesses and their employees, but no matter who you are, Mary Elizabeth Doyle-Tudduni, chairman of the Department of Nursing Health at DeSales University, said you need to do your homework before signing up.

"You should really know what your disease is all about, what kinds of medicines you are on and what type of care you will need," said Doyle-Tadunni.

If you don't have access to a computer, you can call 1-800-318-2596 to get more information.

Enrollment starts Oct. 1, with coverage beginning in January.

For additional information on health care reform, click here.