What’s next for the Affordable Care Act

Navigating your insurance options

Details of health plan benefits and prices that will be offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace aren’t yet available online. But consumers can still begin to explore their options in advance of the Oct. 1 launch.

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to HealthCare.gov and select “start now.” (For Spanish, go to CuidadoDeSalud.gov.)
  • You’ll be asked to answer some basic questions about yourself including your age, what state you live in and whether your income falls above or below a certain threshold.
  • Read about options that might apply to you, including preventive care benefits, federal tax credits, government health care programs and other information.


Alternatively, you can call a customer service representative for help at 800-318-2596. Hearing-impaired customers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 855-889-4325.

1.9 million

Uninsured people in Georgia, or about 19 percent of the state's population.


Rate of uninsured in Massachusetts, the lowest rate in the nation.


Rate of uninsured in Texas, the highest rate in the nation.


Percentage of large companies (200+ workers) that provide insurance benefits to employees.


Percentage of all companies that provide employee insurance benefits.


Number of pages in the Government Printing Office's .pdf file of the Affordable Care Act, as passed in 2010.

What’s next for the Affordable Care Act

Oct 1, 2013: Open enrollment begins on the Health Insurance Marketplaces, the online exchanges prescribed by the law. Individuals and families whose incomes fall between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level may qualify for federal assistance with premiums.

Jan. 1, 2014: Jan. 1, 2014: The individual mandate, which requires U.S. citizens and legal residents to acquire health insurance or face a tax penalty, takes effect. (Certain low-income people are exempt.) Also coming with the new year:

  • Insurers may no longer turn people down or charge them more because they have a pre-existing condition.
  • Medicaid expansion takes effect in states that are expanding the program (Georgia is not). For the next three years, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost and then gradually scale back its contribution to a permanent rate of 90 percent.
  • No more limits on coverage. The law eliminates insurance companies’ yearly limits on coverage. It previously eliminated lifetime limits.
  • Insurance policies purchased on the exchange take effect.

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