'Affordable Care Act' takes effect Oct. 1

Sep 19, 2013

On October first, enrollment begins for the new “Affordable Health Care Act.”

The act is designed to cover people without health insurance. The act set up insurance “exchanges” – where people can pick the coverage they want or need. But Michael Fierberg with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says there’s some confusion on how the marketplace works.

North Dakota’s exchange is through the Department of Health and Human Services. Fierberg says a person can long on to “healthcare-dot-gov,” and start looking at the available options.

"You'll be able to set your choices side-by-side on the screen, so you can easily compare," said Fierberg. "You can do the trade-offs and see which one works best for you, your family and your budget."

Fierberg says tax credits are available for some of the uninsured. And he says even though the signup begins October first, the policies don’t kick in until January first – so there’s no rush.

"You can enroll in October and pay in October, or you can enroll in late November or December and pay then," said Fierberg. "The cost will be the same, and the coverage will start at the same time. So there's no rush to do this in the first couple of weeks."

Fierberg says help will be available on-line – and you can also call a toll-free help line, which is 1-800-318-2596.