Affordable Care Act: What you need to know - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Affordable Care Act: What you need to know

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - On Oct. 1, enrollment opens up for new health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. The coverage will not be free, but it will vary in cost based on lifestyle and income factors.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said policy rates, which he hopes will be released Friday, will be individualized and based on four factors: age, whether the person smokes, what size of family the person has, and where he or she lives in the state.

He said four plans will be available in an online marketplace, and the plans will be tiered from platinum level, the most expensive, to bronze level, the cheapest.

Gerhart said a 40-year old non-smoker in Des Moines could expect to pay less than $150 a month for the cheapest policy available in the marketplace.

Although enrollment opens up on Oct. 1, people will have until March 31, 2014, to enroll in the healthcare policy of their choice.

However, if a person does not select a policy by March 31, and that individual does not have any other type of healthcare coverage, he or she will face a tax penalty in 2015 when he or she files a federal income tax return.

According to Healthcare.gov, the fee in 2014 is 1 percent of the individual's yearly income or $95, whichever is higher, and the fee for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.

Gerhart said anyone can shop around for a new health insurance policy in the online marketplace. However, he anticipates most people who have insurance through their employers will continue with their current policies because those are pre-taxed policies.

People with questions are encouraged to visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.
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