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October 1st is the day many uninsured Americans have been waiting for.  That’s enrollment day for the Affordable Care Act, or what many refer to as “Obamacare”, the law that makes preventive care more accessible and affordable for some Americans. Many people still have no idea about the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act, but Planned Parenthood has a cheat sheet for those still unsure about the rules and guidelines:

1. If you’re uninsured, you may be able to get new insurance starting October 1.Almost everyone will have to get health insurance under the new health care reform law. The law says you must have health insurance by 2014 or you’ll have to pay a fine. But there’s good news: Starting October 1, new, more affordable, quality health insurance plans will be available for you to enroll in. And if you make less than $45,960 per year, you may be eligible to get financial help to enroll in a new insurance plan. Here’s how find out more about whether you’re eligible and how to enroll; you can also learn more about what the new health care law means for women.

2. If you already have insurance, your benefits will expand (and they may already be expanding!).
Under the law, insurance companies can no longer charge women more for the same coverage men get, and they also can’t refuse to cover “preexisting conditions,” like breast cancer or having had a cesarean section. Some women are already getting expanded benefits, depending on how their insurance plan is structured; for most plans, these benefits kick in at the start of the new “plan year,” which varies. If you’re insured, ask the benefits administrator at your workplace or call the number on the back of your insurance card to find out when it kicks in for you.

3. You will be able to get prescription birth control for free, without a co-pay.
The law requires that insurance companies cover all of the FDA-approved birth control methods without a co-pay, including pills, rings, implants, and IUDs. While every method has to be covered, not every brand has to be covered with no co-pay—some plans may only cover certain brands of pills, for example, so you’ll have to ask the insurance company if your brand is covered without a co-pay. The birth control benefit applies to people who currently have insurance (once their new plan year kicks in) and people who get new insurance.

4. You’ll be able to get annual exams, prescriptions, and other services for free, without a co-pay.
Insurance plans will have to cover doctor visits, annual well-woman exams, hospitalizations, maternity care, prescription medications, ER care, and more, all without a co-pay.

5. If you’re getting new insurance, you can “interview” insurance plans to find out which one is best for you.
The range of services that insurance plans offer will vary—for example, they have to cover maternity services, but the exact services covered might be different from plan to plan. Also, you’ll want to make sure your current health care provider is covered by the plan—your a specific doctor, or a health center like Planned Parenthood. When you’re enrolling in new health insurance, you’’ll get a list of plans that are available. You should contact each of them to find out more about what they cover and which providers are included. (Here’s an interview guide so you’ll know exactly what to ask.)

 

Are you considering enrolling? What are your main concerns about the Affordable Care Act?

 

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  • Soulfulindustry

    I hear ya! I wonder how this will play out for alternative medical practitioners who don’t quite fit within the Western Medical model.

  • Huey

    The Obama Healthcare Reform act is a TERRIBLE piece of legislation. The legislation proves that people will eagerly eat a $h!t sandwich so long as it’s served by the right person. This is NOT socialized medicine! This is a bill that mandates the purchase of healthcare insurance from a private corporate entity. Imagine a piece of legislation saying public school will no longer be funded and that all citizens are required to sent their child to a “for-profit” private school. Most black folks would raise all kinds of hell if such a bill were introduced being that many of us can’t afford it. Yet with the Obama Healthcare Reform Act, people cheer the requirement that they purchase insurance from a private corporation. There’s no other legislation that requires merely as a matter of citizenship, that you be required to purchase a service or product from a private corporation. Most of us are too uninformed, non-critical, and outright uneducated to support a health democracy.

    So now because I do not want to be forced to buy insurance from a private corporation merely because I breath and happen to be a US citizen, I am liable to receive a substantial fine (i.e. a new tax). People are so damn ignorant. If many of us would pick up a book and take a read about the systems which govern our lives (e.g. capitalism, imperialism, racism, plutocracy, etc…) we might actually know which causes to support.

    BTW, if any did any research they’d find that with nearly all healthcare system ranking above the US, practicing medicine as a for-profit enterprise is illegal. You cannot practice medicine as a private enterprise. Corporations were created for two reason, diffuse accountability and create profit for stockholders. Corporation have proven supremely untrustworthy custodians of the welfare and interest of the general public.

    • 9Boots

      Last time I checked…if I drive my car without insurance on my car…I get fined. Whether you want to admit it or not, you will need medical care at some point in your life especially if an accident happens. So paying a fine that is 1% of your income is a small price to pay if you want to opt out of the Affordable Care Act and risk going bankrupt if you get that $80,000 medical bill for a five day stay at the hospital.

    • Me

      Huey, you hit it right on the head! Every single point. This bill is one big ass racket between private insurance companies & the government. Either I pay the government for nothing (1% tax for not carrying insurance) or I pay some insurance company for something I use MAYBE once every couple years. Right now, I only enroll in insurance in the years that I know I’m planning to get my check ups because I’m fairly healthy, rely very little on medicine to “cure” common illnesses, and rarely need to go to the hospital for anything major. But now, I’m going to be forced to pay people $1200 a year for services I don’t use most years, and that’s just the tax I’d pay — insurance would cost me even more. That’s $1200 I used to be able to save now being used to pad some exec’s paycheck instead of mine. I used to be sympathetic towards people who suffer from easily fixable health conditions, but now… America better become the healthiest damn country on the planet with this piece of legislation.

    • Huey

      Okay. Sincere apologies on this insults. I get it. I am not at all the kind of person who gets kicks on belittling people. It’s just that over the past several years, it has become so grossly obvious how undereducated and unaware we are as a people. Not only can most of us not speak intelligently on world events and international/domestic policies impacting us, we can’t even identify when those policies are being implemented as an attack (e.g. Obamacare) on us. The more unfortunate thing about ignorance is that those who are most uninformed and unaware tend to usually be the most vocal and opinionated. I am sure someone reading this is laughing at my last observation thinking, he just identified his own problem. Lol ;-) In all seriousness though, sometimes people who are proudly unaware unabashedly ignorant need to be humbled so that they can actually learn something. Not until you realize that you don’t know something is one usually open to learning what they realize they may not know. Nothing gets in the way of learning more than pride and arrogance. If someone is expressing a view that I might find objectionable, I keep my mouth closed to the extent that I am unknowledgeable of the topic lest I set myself up to be made to look like a fool by expressing an unfounded erroneous view. Before I speak I try to at least educate myself on the topic and I only discuss my views to the extent of my education on that topic. If we got of our own way sometimes, we might be able to see realities that evade us that are right under our nose (i.e. Obama is so obviously a Neoconservative). His policies and alliances demonstrate it. Yet my people think he’s the second coming. But that’s another conversation.

  • 9Boots

    You can opt out but you will have to pay a 1% percent penalty based off your annual income. I’m not sure if it is gross or net income. So if you earn $30,000 a year, your fine will be $300. Now if you are considered low income. you do not have to pay the fine.

  • Mr. Man

    Huey, I work in the healthcare management industry and trust when I say that their is a sense of jubilee regarding October 1. I express this to say I totally understand all the points you made. However its true, theres no need to insult and go-in on the commenters who may not get it. The system is corrupt, always have been. America only looks out for its own finacial instrest at the cost of its citizens, its always been this way and always will its the basic ways in which world powers operate, if you go back in history and look at world powers of the past i.e. Rome, Babylon, Medo-Persia,Greece, Egypt, etc you’ll notice the same core practice. The governing polices may be modern but America isn’t doing anything new.

    • Huey

      I disagree, world powers have not always operates that way. Capitalism has only existed for the last couple of centuries. Most societies, African, Meso-American, Asian, Native American, etc. practiced socialism and did not acknowledge private ownership of communal, natural resources. Regardless though, are you actually arguing for or supporting the perspective that we all assume a state of indifference because things have more or less always been this way??? That’s kind of what I am hearing from your argument. This is the way the world turns and some people like myself need to just get used to it. Am I misinterpreting?

    • diasporauk

      @Huey

      Well said on EVERYTHING you said. I’m not American but I know the arguments for and against TACA and AT THIS TIME, I mostly agree with its critics. So if you’re a yank BLINDLY cheering for Obamacare, ie, not able to explain WHY you’re cheering for it, then you’re an ignorant fool.

      The more unfortunate thing about ignorance is that those who are most uninformed and unaware tend to usually be the most vocal and opinionated.

      Absolutely

      and that’s no accident — intelligent people tend to be more circumspect about committing themselves to an idea, much less shouting their moufs off in support of it.

      Why?

      Because intelligent people are CONSTANTLY updating their information which means their opinions are subject to CHANGE in light of NEW information. Fools rely on second hand information spoon fed to them in sound bite chunks, small enough for their brains to digest and dumbed down enough to suit their verbal incontinence.

      100% believers — they believe when they’re told to believe and disbelieve when they’re told to disbelieve.

      Jokers

      Why should people who have access to information at their fingertips be treated with kid gloves? Are they gentle with those they disagree with?

      I don’t think so.

      Cuss em out, they deserve it. LOL! Lame ass argument, chatting bout car insurance. WTF is you talking about man?

      Shut up

      If you can READ, and have an access to a library, or computer with internet, then you have no excuse not to know the pros and cons of “Obamacare”. It was one of the most widely debated issues in BO’s run for the presidency.

      What the f*ck are you cheering for? Can you cite the arguments for and against, and then explain why YOU’VE come down on the pro side? No ya can’t, all you know is

      Obama woo woo . .

      Moron.

      There’s no one and nothing I respect less than people who CHOOSE to be ignorant, insisting on their right to be heard.

      GTFOH!

      I say — if you choose to be ignorant, the only right you have is to shut your effin mouf.

  • diasporauk

    Capitalism has only existed for the last couple of centuries. Most societies, African, Meso-American, Asian, Native American, etc. practiced socialism and did not acknowledge private ownership of communal, natural resources.

    mmm mmm mmm.

    chuckles

    are you a recent convert? You speak with the zeal of someone whose recently de-programmed themselves of the myths and lies propagated in the story of capitalism.

    Keep up the good work and don’t let the apathy or hostility of the Mob kill your passion.

    Fight em back forever.

    We belong to this Earth and ALL of it belongs to ALL of us. We must help Earth destroy the Destroyers, whoever the hell they are, including Obama supporters.

    :-)

    • Huey

      Thanks for the affirmation. Actually I’ve been studying for over a couple of decades, since my late teens. I’ve always shied away from imposing my beliefs on other people but with the recent turn in world events we cannot afford any measure of willful ignorance. African is being recolonized as we speak. Chattel slavery is being reintroduced back in to the US courtesy of the prison industrial complex. US has explicitly and unabashedly expressed itself as an imperial nation ready to confront any challenge China presents for access to natural resources,

      “In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama openly embraced an aggressive military doctrine backed by previous administrations on using armed force beyond the international norm of self-defense. Obama told the world that the United States is prepared to use its military to defend what he called “our core interests” in the Middle East: U.S. access to oil. “[Obama] basically came out and said the U.S. is an imperialist nation and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to conquer areas [and] take resources from people around the world,” says independent journalist Jeremy Scahill. “It’s a really naked declaration of imperialism … When we look back at Obama’s legacy, this is going to have been a very significant period in U.S. history where the ideals of very radical right-wing forces were solidified. President Obama has been a forceful, fierce defender of empire.”” DemocracyNow.org

      The eco-system is being utter destroyed (e.g. Fukushima, Deep Sea Horizon, global warming) My directness is more a result of the sense of urgency I have to get people to be more critical in thinking. Certainly not my intent to insult anyone. It pains me to have noticed over the past several years that African-Americans seem to have lost all sense of moral integrity in deference to Obama. We openly turn a blind eye to his neo-conservative policy and willfully commit to ignorance. As Martin LK said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Ignorance is not the crime, the willful adherence and commitment to it is.

      Over the past few years, the vast majority of the black voting constituency have proven themselves to be mere ideologues touting the talking point of the Obama administration even though he opening and consistently shuns and admonishes us with “tough love” speeches. He needs to save that $h!t for his Jewish or corporate constituency but he dare not express that kind of tone with them. He saves that special part of himself for us and we still support him regardless. We have proven to be no different in behavior than those white Americans who support he brutal ignorance of George Bush while his administration stole Americans blind.

      We have to wake up and start reading more. More importantly, we must stop getting our new from these mainstream corporate new sources (CNN, Fox, . DemocracyNow, BlackAgendaReport, TruthOut, Kos, Frontline, Films4Action, Uhurunews, etc. are excellent sources of critical, accurate, and legitimate news.

      Any how, again thanks for the affirmation.