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Affordable care not just for the uninsured
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- The 225,000 people in El Paso now have access to a government website that allows them to shop for affordable health insurance. Officials stress, however, it's not just a website for people who are uninsured.
It's as simple as logging onto the government website www.healthcare.gov, also referred to as the marketplace, and following the steps on the screen.
Officials with Project Amistad said before anyone can pick a plan people will have to answer a lot of questions. For example: "I'm eligible for insurance through my employer or I'm not eligible for insurance through my employer."
Andrea Ramirez, who works for Project Amistad, said it's a question that should make people think long and hard.
"Usually you're going to get a discounted rate by going through your employer," said Ramirez.
That's because employers pay the premium, leaving the employee to pay the partial amount.
"Maybe $45 a month or $55 a month," said Ramirez.
Under The Affordable Care Act, companies with more than 50 employees are required to provide health benefits. But Ramirez warns everyone with insurance, or people who are newly insured through their work, to still take a look at the plans online.
"Definitely look at the market place because then you'll be able to find an option that best suites you," said Ramirez.
For whoever buys an insurance plan now, that plan will start Jan 1, 2014. Open enrollment runs until the end of March 2014. If a person doesn't have insurance by then, they will face a penalty come tax time. The penalty is 1 percent of your household income or $95 per person, whichever is more expensive.