Alabamians prepare to access healthcare through Affordable Care - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Alabamians prepare to access healthcare through Affordable Care Act

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A big part of the Affordable Care Act will be implemented next week.

Next Tuesday, thousands of Alabamians will be able to access healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.

Although Alabama chose not to setup its own health exchange, we will be defaulted to the federal exchanges.

Certified Financial Planner Scott Cole joined us on Alabama's 13 Midday to discuss the Affordable Healthcare Act.

First, you need to decide if you qualify, Cole said. If you don't have coverage now, you will qualify. The question is whether you will benefit more from one of these plans or just continue with what you have. For those with employer provided health insurance you will probably not see much benefit to switching. Most US companies pay 70 to 80 percent of the cost. If you are on Medicare none of this is pertinent. When you purchase a plan you will either qualify for a subsidy or not. These subsidies are offered for those who are within 400 percent of the federal poverty level. So for those with four children and filing married joint returns earning $94,200 and under qualify for a subsidy*.

You also need to pick your metal. For each State's exchange you will find insurance plans grouped by Names of precious metals. Platinum, gold, silver, bronze, and if you are under 30, there will be a low cost catastrophic option. The more precious the metal, the more expensive the premiums and the more the insurance company will cover. Platinum will cover 90 percent of cost and Bronze will cover 60 percent. 

Alabamians also have to prioritize their needs. Within the different metal group's premiums, deductibles, co-pay amounts, and co-insurance amounts will vary. You will need to decide what plan is best for your family. Deductibles are the amount you pay before insurance companies will begin to cover any expenses. Co-pay's are the amount of money that the patient pays directly to the healthcare provider (doctor, hospital etc.) at every visit. Co-pay is usually too small to cover all of the provider's fees. The insurance company covers a large percentage (usually 60-90%, depending upon the plan) of the remaining fee and the patient is responsible for the balance. This balance is called coinsurance. Also, check if your preferred physicians are listed in the plan.

To get more financial advice from Scott Cole, visit his website:

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