Welcome to our live discussion of the Affordable Care Act. From 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., watch our live webcast of "Obamacare in Georgia," produced by WSB-TV, with anchors Justin Farmer and Jovita Moore, and featuring Clark Howard and the AJC's Carrie Teegardin and Misty Williams. At the same time, post your questions to myajc.com and ajc.com about how Obamacare affects you. We'll get you the answers.
Let’s start with some questions from our email, firstname.lastname@example.org: Rick says: Your news story insert in Sunday`s paper lists ongoing scams. It mentions Medicare supplement insurance. It wasn't clear. Will the Affordable Care Act eliminate the need for supplemental insurance for Medicare insured?
No. Generally speaking, the Affordable Care Act has little impact on your Medicare coverage (other than some benefits that have already taken effect). Specifically, the law does not eliminate the need for supplemental insurance for Medicare recipients. If you have supplemental insurance now, you'll want to keep it up.
A rather frustrated Cliff writes: Spent three hours on the healthcare website to input the application. Here is our experience: Constantly spinning wheels waiting for pages to load. Forced back to the beginning of the application to "edit" one item. Submit and wait. Receive an Email from Healthcare Marketplace telling me I have a message. Click the link and we are back to apply! In my opinion, Healthcare.gov is unusable. It should be taken down until it is finished. How many Americans are wasting their time fooling around with this work-in-progress?
Very good question, Cliff. Outside the federal government, very few people know how many Americans are using the HealthCare.gov site. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to release some data this week, but as yet we’re not even sure what kind of data that will be. As you probably know, the government has been less than forthcoming about performance of the website, other than to admit that it hasn’t worked well. Presumably we’ll hear about how many people have actually enrolled in insurance plans, plus how many people have visited the site, how many have created accounts, and so on.
Hi Keith: You asked us: Are there alternative subsidized options? Or government web site only?
The answer is no, to qualify for the tax credit you need to use HealthCare.gov. The only other option would be to sign up using paper forms.
Ms Vaughn: We have heard similar reports from other consumers. We believe that the delays are related to problems with the Web site that are still being resolved, but HHS has not been clear with us on this. I would call the toll-free number and ask HHS about your application and it status.
One reader asks: I am a 60 year old widow. I work for min. wage, 32 hours a week. I also get a small social security check each month. I have very little money and no health ins. .How will I afford ins?
That's a great question. There are exemptions to the “individual mandate” – the requirement that adults acquire health insurance – and one of the main exemptions is low income. If an insurance policy costs more than 8 percent of your annual income, you probably will qualify for an exemption. In addition, people who would have qualified for Medicaid, had their state decided to expand Medicaid, are exempt from the mandate. There's a chance you may also fit into that category. If you make at least 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $11,400 for an individual, then you may qualify for a substantial tax credit to help you buy affordable coverage on the new Health Insurance Marketplace.
Another reader question: Do you know what percentage of privately insured people are faced with higher premiums? I'm not sure if we're hearing from a few vocal and disgruntled consumers or if the problem is widespread
And here’s a good news email from Martin: I attempted to use Internet Explorer to sign up for several days unsuccessfully. I then installed Firefox and sign up was loading successfully. Try to spread the word. My experience was very pleasant and I feel the coverages will be great, too.
From Rick via email: Your news story insert in Sunday`s paper lists ongoing scams. It mentions Medicare supplement insurance. It wasn't clear. Will the Affordable Care Act eliminate the need for supplemental insurance for Medicare insured?
In case you weren't watching our live webcast tonight, here are a few important Obamacare dates to keep in mind.
And remember: we'll replay tonight's webcast at 1 p.m. Tuesday, AND Carrie and Misty will be back from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. to answer your Obamacare questions live.
From our Twitter feed: Rates going to $22,500 per year from $4500. How do I afford this? I don't want this.
From Rich Loibl on the Twitter feed: I read an article in the AJC saying Emory is not in any plan on the site. Is that still true?
That'll do it for the night! Thanks to everyone who clicked in. Some great questions. Remember that Carrie and Misty will be back live from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to take more of your questions. And we'll replay tonight's webcast during that time as well. Good night!