What 'Obamacare' will cost locally - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What 'Obamacare' will cost locally

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The health care issue is taking center stage on the national level and here at home. Everyone, the employed, unemployed, insured and uninsured alike will all be impacted.

At a Maryland Community College Thursday, President Obama praised health reform and took on its opponents.

"And once it's working really well, I guarantee you they will not call it "Obamacare," President Obama said.

The president said the rollout may not be completely smooth for everyone looking to enroll, and to expect glitches anytime a new program debuts. Enrollment starts Tuesday.

New data shows most Americans do not have even a basic understanding of what it means for them.

If you currently do not have health insurance, you need to get it, or face fines under the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare," in 2014. With open enrollment beginning in just a few days, we're getting a look at what the government-mandated insurance may mean for your wallet.

"There's a lot of people out there that don't know where to start. I will tell them, just don't let this scare you," Katherlyn Geter said.

Erlanger hired Katherlyn Geter as an Affordable Care Act Administrator to help people locally with the enrollment process.

"It's intensive training on just what the ACA is, how to help people. We have a lot of vulnerable populations, people that have low literacy, have no idea what insurance means," Geter said.

A recent survey shows almost half of Americans are confused on if it's actually still a law. The Kaiser Family Foundation found 31% are unsure if it remains a law, 8% think it's been repealed, and 5% think it was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The marketplace opens Tuesday for those without health insurance with four levels of coverage-- bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The silver is the mid-range plan, covering 70% of medical costs. The average monthly payment nationally for that is $328. Locally, the White House says premiums are lower. In Tennessee the mid-range plan will cost you about $245 a month. It's the second cheapest in the country. In Georgia, the average premium is $317 a month. It's $318 in Alabama.

"People want to know, how much is this going to cost me, so receiving that information us very good news for us," Geter said.

But price will vary due to things like age and the tax breaks you get based on income. The application process will not examine your health or include questions about pre-existing conditions.

"We haven't actually seen what the plans are, who the provider networks are, what doctors, hospitals will be included and won't until October first when the whole thing opens up," Chattanooga & Hamilton County Medical Society Executive Director Rae Young Bond said.

Starting Tuesday, you can use your own computer to sign up on www.healthcare.gov and see what plan is the best fit for you.

"My big message is October is a starting point and this is going to be a long process," Young Bond said.

The Chattanooga & Hamilton County Medical Society and Erlanger's Health Centers both plan to host public informational sessions once open enrollment starts to walk people through the process.

You have until December 15th to sign up for coverage, which begins January 1st.

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