Health reform: Exchanges offer uninsured options

HEALTH REFORM: Exchanges Offer Options for the Uninsured
HEALTH REFORM: Exchanges Offer Options for the Uninsured

(HealthDay News) -- Millions of part-time, seasonal, self-employed workers and other individuals currently without health insurance may find a solution to their vulnerable status when the new health care exchanges go into effect on Oct. 1.

The exchanges, well-described as an electronic marketplace, will help consumers compare prices and plans among various insurance packages so that they can choose the options that best cover themselves and their families. Based on the time of enrollment, plans purchased through the exchanges will go into effect as early as January 2014.

The exchanges may be most beneficial to people with low or modest incomes who will be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their coverage. These credits will be available for those who earn up to four times the federal poverty level ($45,960 for individuals and $94,200 for a family of four), but lower earners will qualify for more assistance than higher earners.

"The exciting part about it is that those people will be able to get coverage that is much more affordable than they've been able to in the past," Rhett Buttle, vice president of external affairs for the Small Business Majority, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy group for small business owners, told HealthDay.

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