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New Health Insurance Marketplace opens October 1

In less than a month people can start enrolling in new health insurance plans through an online marketplace designed to bring cost down.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - In less than a month people can start enrolling in new health insurance plans through an online marketplace designed to bring cost down.

It Is part of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as "Obamacare".

Thursday, Green Bay and Appleton both hosted state officials for a town hall discussion on health care.

The audience had plenty of questions.

"A lot about the rates, where the rates are going? Of concerns about the plans. Am I going to be able to keep my plan? explains J.P. Wieske, with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.

However, many questions cannot be answered until October first. when the marketplace opens and plan options are revealed.

"I think people really want to plan ahead, they do not want to suddenly shop on October first, they want to know what is available" says Kevin Kane, with Citizen Action Wisconsin.

The marketplace was designed to help people meet the 2014 requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Everyone must carry insurance or possibly pay a penalty.

"Make sure that you are looking at the information that is online including the doctors, hospitals covered in the plan. What the cost sharing looks like? It is important to look at all those details of the plan" Wieske says.  

Just this week, Governor Scott Walker's administration released projected rates for plans sold through the marketplace.

The analysis looks at three different age groups in eight cities.

It shows rates would go up between 9.7% and nearly 125%.  

"When they throw these numbers out there that may impact three percent of the population, it is a scare tactic" says Wisconsin State Senator Dave Hansen.

Insurance experts say rates are not black and white.

"I think if you look at people in the individual market many of them are really paying a lot for their insurance, because they may have diabetes or a heart condition. I think they are going to find that their rates are much better" explains Diane Woodhead, a local insurance agent.

While the public prepares, some legislators still want the law repealed.

"I am hoping that maybe the administration would delay this a year" says Senator Ron Johnson. "It is not ready for prime time, the implementation is a train wreck"

You must purchase your coverage by December 15th to have it take effect on the first of the year.

Open enrollment ends next March.            

To educate yourself there are several resources including a questionnaire online.

It can help you determine if you will qualify for a tax credit on your health care costs.

Some people may even qualify for free coverage.

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