Obamacare rolls out, calculator can help with confusion
Starting Oct. 1, a new Health Insurance Marketplace will open under the Affordable Care Act, allowing uninsured Americans a new way to shop for health insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," nearly all Americans will be required to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, the roll out date, or face a tax penalty, according to National Public Radio. However, the act is shrouded in confusion, with many individuals unsure how Obamacare will impact their wallets.
There were 50.7 million uninsured Americans as of 2010, according to a Huffington Post report. The bulk of that population resides in the the south and southwest. The states with the highest numbers of uninsured residents (by percent of population) include:
- California: 6,720,279 uninsured, or 20.7 percent of the population
- Montana: 170,509 uninsured, or 20.7 percent
- Mississippi: 525,570 uninsured, or 21 percent
- Alaska: 138,777 uninsured, or 21.4 percent
- Oklahoma: 691,408 uninsured, or 21.9 percent
- Georgia: 1,848,505 uninsured, or 21.9 percent
- New Mexico: 397,890 uninsured, or 22.6 percent
- Nevada: 589,059 uninsured, or 25.1 percent
- Florida: 3,853,392 uninsured, or 25.3 percent
- Texas: 5,820,793 uninsured, or 26.3 percent
Those exempt are individuals already covered by Medicare, Medicade, TRICARE, a veteran’s health program, an employer’s program, or other insurance provider. Also exempted are those below the income threshold to file a tax return, undocumented immigrants and incarcerated individuals.
NPR, in collaboration with the Kaiser Family Foundation, has constructed a calculator to help individuals get an exact cost of their health coverage in the new marketplace. By entering personal information – such as location, income, age, family size – shoppers will find a definitive cost, as well as learn their eligibility for subsidies or Medicaid.
The calculator utilizes insurance premium data from 46 states, including the District of Columba. Not included are Kentucy, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, who will either set premiums using different formulas or have not provided information yet, according to NPR.
Click here to use the calculator.