Starting Oct. 1, new health insurance options will be available for some people as part of the Affordable Care Act.
HealthCare.gov is the federal government's main website for information about the new health insurance options, including enrollment in new plans available starting in 2014. Below is more information about specific dates and places people can go to get further assistance navigating the changes from the Affordable Care Act.
Oct. 1, 2013 - New health insurance exchanges, called "Marketplaces", will become available for people to enroll in health insurances plans in their area
Jan. 1, 2014 - The first insurance plans purchased on the Marketplace will take effect. Also the original deadline for people to have insurance and avoid a tax penalty.
Update Oct. 28: The deadline to sign up for health insurance and avoid a tax penalty was extended to March 31. The White House said anyone who signs up before the end of March 2014 will avoid paying the penalty for that year. This comes after numerous glitches to the HealthCare.gov website.
May 13, 2014 - First open enrollment period using the new Marketplace ends
Accessing the new Marketplaces
The Marketplaces will be primarily online, but people can get information over the phone and enroll by mail as well after Oct. 1, 2013.
For Louisiana residents, the federal government is running the Marketplace because the state chose not to create its own website. Click here to find out how to compare plans and enroll in health insurance plans.
For more information by phone about Marketplaces - Call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
Who can buy insurance on the new Marketplaces
The Marketplace is designed for people who don't already receive insurance through their employer or another program such as Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA to compare plans and buy coverage. Assistance is available for people who fall under certain income levels, and plans come in four tiers with varying costs and deductibles: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
If you already have insurance through an employer, you likely won't need the new Marketplaces at all.
To compare what's offered in the four plan tiers, click here.
For more information about what you need to get ready to apply, click here.
For more information about assistance, click here.
Small business information
The new law requires some businesses, those with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees, to provide health insurance for employees. It also gives tax incentives in certain cases for businesses to provide health insurance, even if they're not required to.
The federal government's health care website has a specific section answering questions about how small businesses are affected.
Local application assistance
Local insurance agents should have information to help people apply for health insurance using the new
The federal government gave out grants to states to hire Navigators, who are people trained to help local residents answer questions about the new Marketplaces and enroll in the program.
Baton Rouge - Area Agency on Aging
1 800-833-9883 (toll free)
Lake Charles - Eligibility Screening Services
Shreveport - Martin Luther King Health Center
318-227-2912 Ext6 Spanish (Español)
Ruston - Eligibility Screening Services
New Orleans - St. Thomas Community Health Center
December 4, 2013
December 2, 2013
December 2, 2013