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Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges go live

One of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) core components goes live today: the healthcare exchanges. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There are two exchanges: an individual exchange, and a small business exchange for companies with fewer than 50 people called the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP). Both go live today, although the SHOP exchange won’t be accessible online until November 1.
  • There’s no open enrollment period for the SHOP exchange; businesses can sign up at any point. For the individual exchange, open enrollment lasts from today through March 31, 2014. However, if an individual wants coverage to start by January 1, 2014, he or she must enroll by December 15. That’s important because…
  • All U.S. residents must have health insurance by January 1, 2014, or face a fine.
  • Those already covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid won’t see any changes to their existing coverage, nor will they have to do anything.
  • The employer mandate, which required businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to offer healthcare (or else face a fine), was previously delayed until January 1, 2015.

Resources abound for those who need more information and assistance with the exchanges. Clickhere for an interactive map from the Wall Street Journal that details each state’s implementation of the law. Click here for the government’s website that lists the available plans and other ACA information. Click here for ENROLL Virginia!, which will help you navigate the exchanges. ENROLL Virginia! is also available via phone at 1-888-392-5132.

Finally, for an overview of the changes and Virginia-specific information, see the Daily Press‘s article here.

This information was compiled by Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, NCRA’s outside legislative counsel.