As WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported, trained enrollment workers did not have many takers in the Bronx. Many potential registrants expressed concerns as they got information about the program.
“I really don’t understand everything about it that’s going on. I know some people is against it and I can’t say whether I am against it or for it. I have to think about it a little bit more,” Nancy Johnson told Diamond.
Cuomo administration officials were out in force Tuesday, urging people to sign up.
“Most of the people here are entitled to rebates so I think that’s very positive,” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera told Diamond. “The shutdown of the government has no impact on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The money was set aside. It’s being implemented even as we speak.”
He said the first step is to arm people with information on the healthcare law.
“At the end of the day, all of us — not some people versus another — but all of us are going to find cheaper health insurance and we’re seeing that right now,” Rivera said.
The prospect of signing up can be a little daunting, so Jersey City has rolled out a mobile navigator program to assist residents.
“We’re going out business to business and signing people up and giving them information,” Mayor Steven Fulop told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell.
The funding for the program came from a $400,000 federal grant.
“Most people have no idea how to do it or even the timing that it’s starting,” said Fulop.
The mayor estimates there are 55,000 city residents without health insurance.
Looming as one of the biggest challenges to the law’s success is the ability of insurers to persuade relatively young and healthy people to buy insurance, as a way to balance the costs for the sicker people who are likely to get coverage as quickly as possible.
“You’ve got to launch this thing right the first time,” said Robert Laszewski, a consultant who worked 20 years in the insurance industry. “If you don’t, financially you will never recover.”
Under the law, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing medical condition and cannot impose lifetime caps on coverage.
They also must cover a list of essential services, ranging from mental health treatment to maternity services.
How It Works
If you have insurance already, the open enrollment will not affect you at all and you do not need to take action, CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger explained.
“If you have insurance through your employer, if you’re on Medicare, if you’re on Medicaid, if your child is covered by CHIP, you’re on COBRA, relax, take a deep breath,” she said. “You don’t have to do anything. You are covered.”
Otherwise, it all depends on how much you make, whether you are looking for individual or family coverage and how much coverage you want.
To sign up, go to HealthCare.gov, the official federal site set up to enroll people. You will be asked to:
1. Create an account, including providing some basic information.
2. Apply for coverage. That will involve entering household income, size and additional information.
3. Select a health plan. You will be presented with all the health insurance plans you qualify for so that coverage types can be compared.
4. Enroll in a health plan. Coverage starts as soon as Jan. 1, 2014.
Anyone who needs help choosing a plan also may turn to so-called “navigators” in their state, who are available to answer questions and otherwise ease the process of signing up.
People also may apply for coverage online, by mail or with the help of a navigator.
Click here to get assistance in your area.
Below are important dates to know as the health care roll-out begins:
• Oct. 1, 2013 – Open enrollment starts
• Jan. 1, 2014 – Health coverage starts
• March 31, 2014 – Open enrollment ends
For those who do not sign up by the end of the year, they will be paying a penalty. For 2014, the penalty will be $95 per year for each uninsured adult in the household – capped at $285 per household or 1 percent of your income.
The cost rises over the next couple of the years. By 2016, it will be $695 per person – capped at $2,085 per household — or 2 percent of your income.
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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)