BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - If you’re one of the roughly 48 million people without health care, Tuesday you can start shopping for a plan at healthcare.gov. The competitive plans have Olympic names: bronze is basic, silver is mid-range and gold and platinum are high-end plans.
All must offer the same coverage. All will come with a monthly premium. The deductibles and copays will vary between plans. All of this sounds complicated but a local health expert at BlueCross BlueShield spoke with News 4 about what you need to know.
If you are covered by your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, Cobra or your child is protected by Chip, Obamacare and health care marketplaces opening up Tuesday do not impact you.
The law will impact 48 million uninsured legal United States citizens, many who haven’t been able to afford health care. For the first time everyone can get care and won’t be denied because of pre-existing conditions.
Vice President of State and Federal Relations for BlueCross BlueShield Don Ingalls said, “In Erie County it’s about 90,000 people who are uninsured.”
In western New York, Ingalls said “It’s about 160,000 that we think are uninsured.”
Starting Tuesday, those people, if they are not eligible for Medicaid, can shop for health care on exchanges. Think Travelocity, except more complicated, and you are buying health insurance not a plane ticket.
Actual coverage begins January 1st and open enrollment ends in six months, on March 31st. If you don’t get coverage you could pay a tax penalty of $95 the first year or one percent of your taxable income.
Keep in mind, New York State has already been doing something like this, and some say is ahead of the curve.
If you have questions about buying health coverage call 1-855-355-5777. You can also visit NYStateofHeath.ny.gov to calculate how much health care will cost you.
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