Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Affordable Care Act (aka "ObamaCare") rollout continues this week.
You can now open your individual "ObamaCare" account – but you'll have
to wait a while before you can actually use it to select a health-insurance plan. 'Obamacare' accounts debut for individuals:
Just eight weeks before the Oct. 1 launch of open enrollment under
President Obama's health-care overhaul law, administration officials
announced Monday that the Affordable Care Act is a step closer to
reality for millions of uninsured Americans.
Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said consumers can now go online to
HealthCare.gov and create personal accounts by establishing a username
However, serious shopping will have to wait until
sometime in September, when details on insurance plans and premiums
offered in local areas will become available through the new online
marketplace. [Arizona's health insurance marketplace is not yet online.]
Sebelius quickly moved to doubters on notice. "Let me
be clear," she said. "We are on target and ready to flip the switch on
The new personal account feature unveiled Monday will be available
just in English for the time being. HHS said personal accounts will be
coming soon to the Spanish-language marketplace, at CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
* * *
The new online insurance marketplaces will be geared to people who don't
have coverage through their jobs, most of whom will be eligible for tax
credits to help pay their premiums. Insurance benefits take effect Jan.
1. That's also when the law will require most Americans to have health
insurance or face fines. Insurers will be barred from turning away
people with medical problems. The administration hopes to sign up at
least 7 million uninsured people next year.
The Obama administration has also launched a new website designed specifically for
business owners. A
race to sell, educate business owners on Obamacare:
The new website business.usa.gov/healthcare allows employers to input their location, company size and current
insurance plans and receive tailored information about changes under the
law, important dates to remember, and the formulas for determining requirements and penalties.
Dubbed the Health Care Wizard, the site is part of BusinessUSA, the
administration’s interagency information outlet for employers. The new
site churns out information gathered from Department of Health and Human
Services, the Treasury Department and the Small Business
Officials say the goal was to bring state- and size-specific information as well as universally important facts about the law together in one place — part of a broader effort to disperse facts and dispel rumors about Obamacare.
On Monday, DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters the agency is still on pace to open the law’s new health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses in October. In addition, the department has made an effort to shield its Obamacare outreach efforts from the $15.5 billion in spending cuts the agency sustained as part of the sequester.
* * *
Sebelius last month announced the agency would provide $150 million
in grant funding to more than 1,500 health centers around the country
to help them sign up businesses and individuals on the new exchanges. In
total, those funds will be used to hire around 3,000 additional
outreach workers and enrollment assistants.
* * *
The administration has brushed aside [concerns that employers will limit hiring or cut employees a result of the law], noting that nearly every company that qualifies for the so-called employer mandate
already offers adequate insurance to its workers, leaving only a small
sliver of the business community forced to make any changes.
administration officials believe new tax breaks and increased
competition on the new health insurance exchanges will drive down costs
for many employers — and in some states, it is starting to work, as several insurance companies have proposed surprisingly low rates for the exchanges.
that is to continue, though, experts say the administration must
convince individuals and business owners alike to take part in the
Check out the new websites to learn more information and keep checking back as the websites are updated.
UPDATE: Also check out the website Enroll America, the organization that will be going door-to-door to urge
uninsured people to sign up for health insurance.