NORTHEAST Miss. (WCBI)- For uninsured Americans, October 1st marks the beginning of the health insurance marketplace.
“It’s going to effect the people that I refer to that ‘fall between the cracks.’ They’re not eligible for medicare. Perhaps their employer does not have an employer provided insurance or for whatever reason they could be unemployed and don’t have insurance. This will be for those people to look, to assess, and what they pay will be based on their income, said Noxubee General Hospital administrator Danny McKay.
The marketplace also allows those with pre-existing conditions to qualify for coverage.
“If you have someone who doesn’t have health insurance now and they have some kind of illness or some type of ailment, they will be able to get insurance coverage that otherwise through commercial carriers they would not have been able to get,” said McKay.
Within hours of opening, the website experienced high volumes of traffic. Americans have until December to sign up. If you do not have coverage by early next year, you will have to pay a penalty. That’s $95 per adult, around $47 per child or 1% of your income. That fee also increases every year.
“Now some people i’m sure will just pay the penalty and self-insure because they can’t afford the premiums so they need to look into it and find out what their premium will be before they make that decision and not just make the decision without looking into it,” said McKay.
Some residents we talked to believe the marketplace opens the door for millions to receive healthcare.
“Not just the elderly but you’ve got young people around here who’s ill and need some kind of coverage. I know a lot of people who need to go to the doctor but don’t have any insurance to go. I feel in my heart that it’s very important,” said Lowndes County native Daniel Cockrell.
While others, like Columbus resident Kim Sansing hate it.
“I guess for the people that need it, I guess that’s okay. But I don’t think you should be told you have to do it. I don’t think you should be told! That is not in our constitution,” said Sansing.
McKay also says if you’re unfamiliar with the way insurance works and to avoid any confusion, it’s best to seek help from a counselor before signing up. For more information on the marketplace, go to www.healthcare.gov