In Utah and across the country, new online insurance marketplaces opened for business Tuesday as part of the new federal health overhaul. Utah officials have opted to have the federal government run its marketplace for individuals, while the state continues running its online marketplace for small businesses, which was created in 2009.
Here are five things to know about the new health exchange in Utah:
Under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, most Americans will be required to have health insurance starting next year. Online marketplaces are scheduled to open Tuesday for consumers to shop for coverage plans in their state.
WHAT IF I CAN'T AFFORD COVERAGE?
Tax credits are available to some lower-income families and individuals to help cover the costs of monthly premiums. More details can be found at http://www.healthcare.gov. Lower-income households may also be eligible for free or low-cost coverage under Medicaid.
HOW MUCH WILL THE EXCHANGE PLANS COST?
It depends. A mid-range, benchmark plan in Utah will average about $266 a month, according to the Health and Human Services Department. But rates can vary quite a bit depending on where a consumer lives, how old they are, how big their family is, and what type of coverage they choose. The full details of plans and prices are being released on Oct. 1.
WHERE TO GO:
For most people searching for health coverage, the best place to start will be https://www.healthcare.gov. For Utah residents who suspect they may be eligible for Medicaid coverage, they may also start with Utah's Department of Workforce Services at http://jobs.utah.gov. Take Care Utah, a partnership of nonprofit organization, has set up a website to help Utah residents find their nearest enrollment counselor: http://www.takecareutah.org. The following Utah health centers have also been federally approved to help people enroll and find coverage:
_ Bear Lake Community Health Center in Garden City
_ Carbon Medical Service Association in East Carbon
_ Community Health Centers in Midvale
_ Enterprise Valley Medical Clinic in Enterprise
_ Green River Medical Center in Green River
_ Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden
_ Mountainlands Community Health Center in Provo
_ Southwest Utah Community Health Center in St. George
_ Utah Navajo Health System in Montezuma Creek
_ Wasatch Homeless Health Care in Salt Lake City
_ Wayne Community Health Centers in Bicknell
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T GET COVERAGE?
Starting next year, those who don't have minimum health coverage will be required to pay a penalty of 1 percent of their annual income or $95 per person, whichever is greater. Families with uninsured children will have to pay $47.50 per child. In 2016, the penalty jumps to 2.5 percent or $695 per person. In addition to those penalties, people will still be responsible for paying their health care costs.