On Tuesday, October 1, Americans can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). You've probably heard repeatedly arguments for and against the new law, including bits and pieces from Republican Senator Ted Cruz's (R-TX) 21-hour talkathon quasi-filibuster on the Senate floor earlier this week.
Aaron Smith is a fan of Obamacare. He's the co-founder and executive director of Young Invincibles, an organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for young people. Smith tells The Daily Ticker that about 90% of the 19 million uninsured young people in the U.S. will "qualify for tax credits that are going to make health insurance more affordable than ever before and [with] higher quality."
How much coverage they get and the price they pay will depend on what plan they choose, where they live and the tax credits--i.e., subsidies--they qualify for. Health care insurance exchanges are local, not national, and generally the more participants an exchange has, the cheaper the cost, according to Young Invincibles. In general, the less one earns, the more likely he or she will qualify for government subsidies, which will reduce the cost.
"It's about affordability," says Smith. "The polls show that young people actually do want health insurance. It just has been too expensive."
Indeed a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released in June found that more than seven in ten young adults say it's important to have health insurance. But a more recent Pew Research Center poll found that just 56% of young people know that Obamacare requires them and others to be insured or face fines.
Clearly, the government--national and local--need to get the word out about the new law.
"Every state, every city will actually look different. You have to look at healthcare.gov to see what rates are going to apply to you and you have to take into account government subsidies," says Smith. "If you make under $25,000-$30,000 you will get a pretty substantial subsidy. It's not going to be $150 a month." But if you make more you may not get a subsidy. "It's a very complicated law and there's a lot of moving pieces," says Smith. "We're getting to a point now where we need to provide all those answers" to people's questions.
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