Thousands of uninsured Missourians are waiting to see just how much they will pay for health insurance when the new online marketplace opens on Oct. 1.
Because Missouri lawmakers voted not to create a state-run marketplace, the federal government will roll out options in just a few weeks.
"There has been a lot of misinformation about the online marketplace," said Bridget McCandless, president and chief executive of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas.
McCandless said the online Health Insurance Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act is essentially an insurance store.
"We don't have exactly every insurance company that is going to participate in the state of Missouri," McCandless said.
Starting in October, those who qualify can sign up for healthcare insurance. They have until March 2014 to choose an option.
"All of the states were given the opportunity to build their own insurance marketplace. That would have given the states a lot of control. They could have decided what sorts of products went into it, how easy it was to access. We could have gotten a lot of information out of the system," McCandless said.
McCandless said some of the confusion surrounding the marketplace is compounded by the fact that Missouri lawmakers also passed a law banning state employees from answering questions about the Affordable Care Act.
"It is very unfortunate that some of our legislators have really made it impossible for state employees to help their constituents. They've made it so that state employees get in trouble if they even discuss the insurance options if Missourians call and ask for help. We can do better than that in the state of Missouri," McCandless said.
Those who need more information are encouraged to visit healthcare.gov and begin researching their insurance options. Navigators will also be available in person at hospitals and clinics.
"There was resistance when Medicaid (and) Medicare got started. We survived those bumps in the road, and we are going to survive these bumps too," McCandless said.
Just this week, the Department of Health and Senior Services issued a report on healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act.
These premiums could change by Oct. 1 but offer a ballpark figure on how much insurance coverage could cost.
In Missouri, there are about 17 qualified health plan choices.
A family of four with an income of $50,000 could spend $72 to $798 depending on what level of coverage they select from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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