NewsLocal News / November 5, 2013

Forum Answers Affordable Care Act Questions

The U.S. Health and Human Services Regional Director Kathleen Falk answered questions Monday about the Affordable Care Act during a forum in Indianapolis. She says the event is important to provide clarity on the law known as Obamacare. 2013-11-05T00:00:00-05:00
Forum Answers Affordable Care Act Questions has been up and running for more than a month.

It’s faced criticism for its technical glitches, which the Obama Administration says will be fixed by the end of the month.

Monday, a panel of experts answered questions from Indianapolis residents about the Affordable Care Act.

"People are frustrated right now," said Democratic U.S. Rep., Andre Carson.  "When people are frustrated, it opens to door for confusion and disillusionment.”

The panel fielded questions from specifics on individual costs and conditions to how Indiana’s system compares to other states.

"They have a lot of questions about how do you buy health insurance? What's a premium? What's a deductible?," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director, Kathleen Falk.  "It's a good time to do homework before you decide what to buy."

Falk says she believes, despite the rocky start and protests against it, the health care law is good for the country, especially the roughly 1 million Hoosiers and 140,000 Marion County residents without insurance.

"Our nation has just been waiting so long for this day to come with tens-of-million of Americans who suffer because they don't have affordable health care or the number of people who can't buy it because they have a preexisting condition like diabetes or cancer," said Falk.  "It is just a day people have been waiting for so long and it really is historic."

Hoosiers are able to choose from 34 different plans.

The law known as Obamacare came under fire because some people are losing their individual plans that no longer meet the requirements, which could cause them to pay more.

"We'll actually have some that will have a rate decrease...and we've seen up to a 40 percent decrease," said Joe Gilbert, Regional Vice President of Sales for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.  "At the same time, we are seeing an over 100 percent rate increase.  So, it's kind of a once in a lifetime adjustment. It's almost like a correction in the market to go from the old system to the new system that has had some negative rate impact for clients."

But, Falk says the onus is on insurance companies and the marketplace plans offer more coverage.

"The President said people can keep their insurance if they want, right?  He never said insurance companies can not increase their rates," said Falk.

Enrollment ends March 31. Those who want their coverage to start January first must sign up by December 15.

"The enrollment period is six months long and we are only a month into this six month long enrollment period," said Falk.  "So, people have time yet to do the homework, figure out what's best for themselves and their families."



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