Starting Oct. 1, anyone looking to purchase health insurance plans can enroll in the new online marketplace. A key component of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace has been touted as a totally new way to buy insurance. You, the consumer, can go to the marketplace website and do a side-by-side comparison of the benefits, premiums and coverage of different insurance plans.
And if you meet the eligibility criteria and have no access to employer-sponsored insurance plans, you can get financial help to pay for your premiums. The assistance is on a sliding scale: the more money you make, the less help your family will get.
In collaboration with NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation has created a calculator to help you find out whether you qualify for a subsidy, and if so, for how much.
You can enter your ZIP code, income, age, family size and other factors into the calculator to get estimates and the insurance premiums available on the marketplace starting Oct. 1.
According to NPR.org, the calculator makes use of premium data from 46 states plus the District of Columbia. The remaining four states (Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont) either set premiums using different formulas or haven't provided data yet.
Missouri has defaulted to let the federal government run its health-insurance marketplace, but all insurance plans sold in the state must be approved by the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. That department still hasn’t revealed which insurance providers and health insurance plans will be available in Missouri’s marketplace. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri residents will be able to choose from 17 different plans.