Affordable Care Act now in effect

Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 4:56pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 8:11am

The Affordable Care Act kicked into effect Tuesday, and if you don't have health insurance, you'll need to get it.

This means everyone now has access to health insurance, but there are multiple levels, and it can be kind of confusing. Mike Reitz, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana president, said everyone can have access to healthcare regardless of pre-existing conditions.

"The Affordable Care Act was designed to make sure that everyone, all Americans, there were 30 to 50 million Americans that were uninsured and to make sure they have access to a health insurance plan," Reitz said. "So the biggest change is that okay insurance industry, you will begin issuing insurance policies, no longer will you have the ability to evaluate the risk."

People looking for insurance don't have to rush. Doug Wilkinson of the Louisiana Healthcare Education Coalition said there is a long opt-in period.

"You've got six months. So you don't have to do it today. You don't have to do it tomorrow," Wilkinson said. "You just need to do it before the end of the year if you want the policy to be in effect by January 1st. Even if you don't make that date, you still have until March 31st."

The plan provides platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels of care, and your choice of insurance is now just a click away.

"There's a website where individuals who currently purchase insurance individually, typically not through an employer sponsor or a group plan, where they can go to begin shopping for health insurance," Reitz said.

"Then the system will figure out what subsidy you are eligible for, based on your income, smoke or non-smoker, those sort of things," Wilkinson said.   

You can go to: to sign up, and for more information or  

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