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Health Care Exchange government websites open enrollment period

Health Care Exchange government websites open enrollment period
LEWISTON, ID - The health exchange, at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care plan has begun as millions of Americans are now looking to get insured before the deadline is up.

Reporter Sophia Miraglio hits the streets to not only learn what the Affordable Care Act is, but also what the insured and uninsured think about the mandatory insurance overhaul.

The Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, and today marks the first day of the six-month open-enrollment period for health insurance across America.

"Having health insurance prevents financial disaster and the shift of costs from my care to somebody else if I didn't have insurance," said ID. Health Exchange Board Member, John Rusche.

Everyone who doesn't have health insurance will need to get it, and now you can shop for health coverage through your state's online marketplace.

"There's 146 different plans that are tailored to different geographic areas and also by the amount you want to pay as premium or what you want to assume as co-pay and deductible," said Rusche.

The state exchanges are expected to provide coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, including the estimated 200,000 uninsured Idaho residents. However it might not be as easy as many were hoping for.

"The first time I waited an hour and five minutes the second time I waited a half hour at least and then the third time I also waited a half hour," said resident Diane Graff.

Reports of having trouble getting the mandatory insurance are common. As the Health Exchange websites for both Idaho and Washington reported having technical issues.

KLEW News tried to access the Idaho insurance website, however because of the amount of visitors to the site we were unable to get where we needed to be. And for Washington state, we couldn't even access the site. A problem that officials said they're working on.

"And after I waited that long they hung up on me because evidently they had too many phone calls," said Graff.

If you don't have insurance and are not exempt when you file your federal taxes next year, you will pay a fine.

"I believe the Affordable Care is an attempt by the President to do a good thing but forcing it is not the right thing," said retired Boeing Engineer Maynard Clark.

"In the first year $95 or one-percent of your modified adjusted gross income," said Rusche. "That increases each year."

"We're going to be looking at the plans, but I believe we're not going to do it this year and simply pay the minimum fine," said Clark.

If you're already insured and like your insurance or have medicaid, the Affordable Care Act does not affect you.
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