What Does The Affordable Care Act Mean For You?

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CHARLOTTE, NC- Amongst all the country’s health care chatter – are the facts. Enrollment for the hotly contested heath care plan begins Tuesday while 1.5 million people in North Carolina are uninsured, including more than 160,000 in Mecklenburg County.

“We should all be able to get help when we need it for medical attention,” said Shane Duckworth, a Plaza Midwood resident.

Duckworth, a  28-year-old single mom hasn’t had insurance in more than 10 years.

“Because I’ve worked in restaurants and I’m a hair stylist now and yes, I would love to see a doctor. But if I get really bad bronchitis, I go to the emergency room so I get crazy bills and it affects my credit,” said Duckworth.

Duckworth is hoping the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, as planned, on Tuesday.

It would require adults under 65 to have health insurance by January 1 or pay a fine. 
People could shop for coverage in an online marketplace exchange.

“Take your time, choose wisely, think it through and don’t feel rushed to make this decision. These exchanges are new, they’re going to have their glitches,” said Joseph Piemont, said Carolinas Healthcare Systems President.

Federal health care officials said last week that North Carolina residents would pay more than the national average and have fewer health plan choices.

If you are not insured by the end of March 2014, you could fined up to $285 in 2014.

“When you compare what the penalty is this year to what the lowest premiums might be for a young, healthy person, Economically, that might be a good short-term decision for them to make,” said Piemont.

But not everyone will have to shop for insurance on the new marketplace. Most people are covered by their employer or a subsidized program.

“When you get sick and there’s no way getting help, Medicare and Medicaid really doesn’t provide like it should and it costs taxpayers a lot of money,” said Steven Rushing, a Harrisburg resident.

Federal health care officials said last week that North Carolina residents would pay more than the national average and have fewer health plan choices.