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Understanding the Affordable Care Act

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Albany/HV: Understanding the Affordable Care Act
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Nearly 50 million Americans don't have health care insurance or are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone will be required to carry or provide coverage to your employees or else you will be charged a fine. YNN's Karen Tararache has the details.

UNITED STATES -- "Starting on Tuesday, every American can visit Healthcare.gov to find out what's called the insurance marketplace for your state," President Obama said.

UHY, LLC Partner, Richard Lipman explained, "People who don't have coverage now because they have a pre-existing condition or serious health issues will be able to buy health care coverage at a much more affordable rate or be able to buy it."

That's the goal of the Affordable Care Act: Raise competition among insurance companies by offering lower rates so that those without insurance have it and those already get it, start paying less. Under Obamacare, individuals have until the New Year to enroll but if you don't a penalty will kick in April 1st, 2014.

"It's one percent of your income or $95 every month for every month that you don't have coverage," Lipman said.

And it's that news that leaves some feeling hesitant.

Menands resident Angel Fusco said, "I'm worried because if you don't sign up by a certain time, if you don't have that money to begin with, then you're going to be penalized with money that you may not have any way, so how are you supposed to pay either one?"

David Thomas of Ellenville said, "Some people can't afford it, so you're going to tax them for something that they can't afford, so I don't think that's fair at all."

Lipman added, "There are some exemptions if the insurance isn't affordable or you don't file a tax return, you don't reach the filing threshold you don't have to pay the penalty."

October 1st, all businesses, whether or not they provide health insurance, are required to inform their employees about the options at the health care marketplace website.

Obama explained, "It’s a website where you can compare and purchase affordable health insurance the same way you shop for a plane ticket on kayak the same way you shop for a TV on Amazon."

And while businesses employing less than 50 people are not required to provide health care, those with 50 or more are and have until January 2015 to do so.

"Tell your friends, tell your family, get covered, get on that website," Obama said.

Small businesses trying to enroll in health care coverage will have to submit a paper application until November, when they can then enroll online.

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