As everyone in the country knows by now, the latest phase of the Affordable Care Act kicked in on Tuesday, Oct. 1, when online marketplaces opened around the country where individuals and small businesses can shop for health care insurance.
Websites for the federal-run exchange that many states are using were so swamped the day they opened many people who wanted to couldn’t get through. Ditto for state-run exchanges in places like Oregon and Washington, some of which won’t be ready for prime time for a few more weeks.
But that’s short term. In the long run, the exchanges could make buying health care insurance more affordable than it ever has been for individuals such as freelancer writers. Exchanges and other parts of the Affordable Care Act could eventually contribute to lower costs for medical treatments, according to sources I interviewed for this MSN Money story.
How is ACA Affecting Freelancers?
I’d love to find out if you or writers you know are planning to use the exchange in your state to shop for a new health care insurance policy. Maybe you’re waiting until the dust settles and websites are running more smoothly to find out what’s available. Or maybe you’re covered under a spouse or significant other’s health care insurance (that’d be me thanks to my husband’s employer) or aren’t a fan.
Some stories on this subject are already starting to appear. On the day the health exchanges opened for business, comedian John Hodgman retweeted dozens of young adults’ horror stories about illnesses that would have cost them tens of thousands of dollars if they hadn’t had insurance. He compiled everything into a blog post, and Buzzfeed summarized here: John Hodgman retweets dozens of health nightmares.
Writer Kameron Hurley shared her own horror story in an Oct. 1 post of discovering at age 25 that she had type 1 diabetes and living in fear for the next two years of having adequate insurance coverage to pay for the medication she needed to literally stay alive. Read it here: The horror novel you’ll never have to live: surviving without health insurance.
If you aren’t sure what type of exchange your state has, here’s another MSN Money story I did that includes a list of which states are offering what: States roll out varied Obamacare plans.
Regardless of your position, I’d love to hear from you – please share your story by leaving a comment.
[Flickr photo by will1ill]