Top resources for making sense of Obamacare

In the shadow of a government shutdown, President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, was set in motion on Tuesday with the opening of health insurance exchanges. Here’s a roundup of the best tools and resources to help you make sense of Obamacare and what it might mean for you.

healthcareObamacare overviews

The home base of the Affordable Care Act is healthcare.gov, where you can learn about the most prominent aspects of the law and look for health insurance through the new exchanges. The Department of Health and Human Services also has an infographic explaining the key features of the act.

Another go-to resource is the Kaiser Family Foundation, which offers resources like an animated video explaining the changes prompted by the law and interactive maps showing how the exchanges and Medicaid expansion will apply state-by-state.

Health insurance exchanges

Enrollment opens today for the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Want to get started right away? Visit the marketplace here. Help is available online, by phone, and through local helpers—see contact information here.

Not sure what the exchanges are all about? Check out NPR’s “Insurance exchange 101” or WebMD’s insurance marketplace FAQs.

Exchanges by state

The operation of the now-open insurance exchanges vary from state—16 exchanges are state-run, 15 states are run by some combination of state and federal government, and 19 states are run by the federal government. The Kaiser Family Foundation offers a profile for exchanges in each state. The Commonwealth Fund also has an interactive map showing how exchanges will work in each state.

Obamacare subsidies

Obamacare will provide subsidies for many Americans’ individual health insurance premiums. The FindLaw blog explains how these subsidies work, and helps you figure out whether or not you qualify. The Kaiser Family Foundation also has a subsidy calculator that estimates your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance.

The law and politics of the Affordable Care Act

Politico’s “Understanding Obamacare” series decodes the legal, political, and real-world complexities of the controversial act. Sections cover what the fight is all about, pre-existing conditions, the individual mandate, and how Americans will get health care coverage.
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