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Affordable Care Act guidance


'Navigating Your Way Through the Marketplace' offered



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September 25, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- After years of controversy and debate, healthcare reform is about to take effect.

The Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress in 2010, is complicated and has often been confusing, but a new program offered at the library aims to help those who are uninsured or underinsured obtain medical coverage in the new Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace.

"Navigating Your Way Through the Marketplace," presented by Shane LaParl, a representative of Benefit Review Services, Inc., will take place at 6:30 p.m, Oct. 7, at the library, 304 South St., Ortonville.

"The Marketplace is for anyone not eligible for insurance through their employer, or if they are looking at comparing options," said Brad Richards, senior consultant with Benefit Review Services, Inc., on Tuesday. "It is possible the marketplace might be a better option. There are many factors in play—based on their financial status, they could be eligible for premiums or cost-sharing subsidies. Rates have not been released, even though it's just a few days away."

The Marketplace, also known as the exchange, is due to open on Oct. 1 and allows individuals and small businesses to shop for and compare qualified health benefit plans that vary in price and coverage, which can begin Jan. 1.

Under the ACA, all Americans must have health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty. Enrollment for 2014 continues through March 31.

Richards said during the marketplace program at the library, penalties will be discussed, as well as the new ACA criteria.

In the first 10 minutes of the program, the ACA basics will be discussed, and after that, the program will look much like a computer lab, with participants being familiarized with the marketplace website, healthcare.gov. Richards describes the site as user-friendly and hopes participants will become comfortable "with what may be a confusing process."

The Marketplace encompasses many different insurers, both local and national, with numerous plans. In the program, the difference between PPOs, HMOs, and HSAs will be explained and participants can receive guidance on what might best fit their needs.

Benefit Review Services, Inc. is not selling anything and is completely independent. The program is free. Information you will need to enroll includes annual household income and dates of birth for family members.

"There is no longer any medical questions asked, and no pre-existing condition clauses," Richards noted. "No matter what your health condition, everyone qualifies."

Contact the library at 248-627-1461 for more information.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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