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Key Consumer Questions About The Health Reforms

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If I currently buy my own insurance, can I keep it or do I have to change?

If you have individual insurance â¿¿ a plan you bought yourself rather than what you get through an employer â¿¿ you should be able to change to a new plan if you choose.

It also will be illegal for insurance companies to cancel your coverage if you make simple mistakes on forms, but you still can be cancelled for intentionally making false claims. If you have COBRA continuation health coverage, you can maintain it or decide to buy a new insurance plan. If you select a plan by Dec. 15, you can have coverage starting Jan. 1.

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I keep hearing about bronze, silver, gold and platinum. What does that mean?

Bronze, silver, gold and platinum refer to the types of insurance policies available to businesses and individuals under the exchanges created by the health care law. The categories reflect how much premiums will cost each month and the amount you will pay for such things as hospital visits and prescription medications. The percentage covered by the plan increases from bonze to platinum. The lowest-cost plan is bronze, in which the insurance company covers 60 percent of the expenses and the individual will pay 40 percent. The highest-cost tier is platinum, in which the insurer covers 90 percent of the expenses and the individual pays 10 percent.

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Is "Obamacare" available for immigrants?

It depends on whether they are in the country legally. Legal immigrants will be required to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty if they don't. They can buy insurance through the health care exchanges and are eligible for the subsidies. Most legal immigrants cannot enroll in Medicaid if they have been in the U.S. for less than five years, although states have the option to waive the waiting period for pregnant women and children. Some legal immigrants will not be eligible for Medicaid, regardless of the amount of time they have been in the country.

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