Winn. Co. Health Dept. breaks down Illinois healthcare exchange - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Winn. Co. Health Dept. breaks down Illinois online healthcare exchange

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) -

The Affordable Care Act wraps up its first day. It went online at midnight on Tuesday. We're not here to say what kind of healthcare is right for you, but now, you've got another choice. If you want to shop around, the Winnebago County Health Department says this marketplace offers information for residents from all walks of life.

"If you don't have coverage or if you have coverage and you can't afford it or different things, or you want to see what else is available, you can go online to the marketplace at www.getcoveredillinois.gov and check and see what your options are. There are five screening questions; you punch those in and it'll bring up what plans are available to you." -says Winnebago County Health Department In-Person Counselor Grant Coordinator Juliana Barker.

The website puts together factors like your family's size, annual income and where you live.

"Policies we'll have available to us locally will work for our local hospitals. You'll be able to go in and pick and choose, like 'I want a policy that has a $250 deductible, 80/20 co-insurance and works at Rockford Memorial Hospital,' you'll be able to pick and choose that and they'll show you and it'll be able to show you all the plans that meet your needs." -Barker says.

The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance in 2014. If you're already covered, you don't have to enroll, but you can compare and switch if what many people call Obamacare offers a better plan. If you're one of the 40,000 Winnebago County residents uninsured and can't decide before ACA goes into effect January 1st, you can relax. There's a three-month grace period, but after March 31st, 2014 if you're still not covered, you could face a fine.

"The tax penalty is $95 for an adult, half of that for a child, or up to 1% of your income and that's reconciled at the end of the year on your taxes." -Barker adds.

Another deadline to keep in mind, if you want your ACA coverage to start on January 1st, you have to sign up by December 15th. If you have questions, or would like more information, the WCHD has options. You can call their hotline at (815)720-4330, email at aca@wchd.org or seek out certified agencies in the area. These agencies can be found on the Get Covered Illinois website. Enter your zip code in the 'Get help in your area' box.

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