Are you one of the many uninsured that haven’t signed up for health insurance yet? Is confusion about where to go and how to figure out which plan is best for you and your family have you at a standstill?One of the first things you might consider doing is reading background information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - What the goals of the ACA are, and the role providing health insurance to millions will have in creating a healthier US population.The Alabama Cooperative Extension recently released publication “The Affordable Care Act” provides a good introduction. The ACA attempts to: - Improve the quality and affordability of health insurance for all Americans, particularly among populations where there are major health disparities - Lower the rate of insurance for the uninsured by expanding public and private insurance coverage - Reduce the cost of healthcare for individuals and government - Strengthen preventive care - Promote the use of health information technologyTo view a PDF of the publication visit http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/U/UNP-2035/UNP-2035.pdfHowever, if you are just trying to figure out which insurance is best for you, a visit to download materials developed through the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension system may be a help.Visit - http://tinyurl.com/smartchoicemd - to download the Smart Choice workbook. The 26-page workbook will walk you through the “Why? What? How? “questions you need to know and have answered to select the smart choice.Following the Smart Choice checklist will guide you through the process. With the partially completed checklist in hand when you visit the Health Insurance Markeplace at Healthcare.gov or call the toll-free number at 1-800-318-2596 you may not feel as overwhelmed. There may be local events in your area over the holidays. Visit localhelp.healthcare.gov to find out resources in your area if you want to talk to a person face-to-face.Just remember if you want health insurance by January 1, 2014, you need to get your paperwork in and premium paid by December 23th. If you are planning to wait until the very last minute to obtain health insurance you have until March 31, 2014 – the end of open enrollment.Other resources of interest: Kaiser subsidy calculator can be found at http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/. Use the calculator and get an estimate of your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance. There are tax credits available for many families.eXtension has a links to many other resources – the links can be found at http://tinyurl.com/extensionACASubmitted by Donna Shanklin, Regional Extension Agent – Human Nutrition, Diet & Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 256-737-9386.
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