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Health Exchanges

The Affordable Care Act will require millions of uninsured people to buy health insurance starting at the first of the year. The government hopes to simplify that process for them with the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Julia Vandeysheva works at a small coffee shop that doesn't provide health insurance to its employees.  Beginning January 1st, she'll be required by law to buy her own coverage or face a penalty.

People like Julia will get to choose what plan they want. One way is through the Health Insurance Marketplace or exchange run by the federal or state government. It will allow people to compare and pick a private plan based on rates and coverage.

Sharon Robbins, a certified Affordable Care Act insurance specialist, says no one can be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

But the aim of Obamacare is to make insurance more affordable through competition, streamlining and tax credits for lower income participants.  All plans in the exchange will offer certain essential health benefits. But there are four tiers of coverage  ranging from lower quality, more affordable plans with higher deductibles to more expensive ones that offer better coverage and lower deductibles.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is meant to simplify medical coverage and the people who still don't buy in will face a penalty. But some may find the penalty easier to swallow than the premium.


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