Armed with a sense of idealism and packets of information about the upcoming rollout of the Texas health insurance marketplace, more than a dozen volunteers met last weekend outside a vacant storefront tucked between a vintage clothing shop and a record store in North Austin before they set out to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Local organizers for privately funded Enroll America recruited the eager group, mostly college students in sandals and university T-shirts, and set them loose on the Hyde Park neighborhood to explain the basics of a new part of the so-called Obamacare health insurance reform that takes effect this fall. The individual mandate requires everyone to buy health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, or face a penalty.
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What is the marketplace?
The federally run marketplace, also called an exchange, can be accessed online, by phone or in person. It refers to the array of health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act. With an application, an individual can learn if he or she qualifies for a federal subsidy to help pay the premium.
Where can I find it?
The online marketplace is at www.healthcare.gov. Or you can call 1-800-318-2596 , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, several community groups and so-called navigators can help with enrollment. The website is up and running and allows users to input basic information.
Oct. 1: Open enrollment begins in the marketplace.
Jan. 1: U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to have qualifying health coverage or face a tax penalty; coverage begins for those who purchased policies in the marketplace.
March 31: Open enrollment in the marketplace closes.
Do you qualify?
To see a calculator (courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation) that illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance health insurance through the marketplace, go to www.statesman.com/interactive/health-care-subsidy-calculator/.
State spending on education efforts
Amount spent per uninsured adult under age 65 by selected states on education and outreach efforts to inform residents about the health care marketplaces. Amounts rounded to the nearest dollar.
• Texas: $2
• California: $8
• Colorado: $24
• Arkansas: $34
• Washington, D.C.: $101
Source: Data provided by Kaiser Family Foundation
ABOUT THIS STORY
This is one in a series of articles on the Affordable Care Act. See more Statesman coverage online at statesman.com/healthcare.