Understanding Obamacare: 4 Things You Need to Know

By Karen Datko

NEW YORK (MoneyTalksNews) — Oct. 1 will be a very important day for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. That's when people will be able to buy health insurance on their state's new online marketplace.

What does this mean to you? Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson provides answers to four of the most common questions about the Affordable Care Act in the following video. Check it out, then read on for more detailed answers to those questions.

1. Will you be affected?

The marketplaces are where individuals and businesses with 50 or fewer employees can buy health insurance. The actual coverage begins Jan. 1.

Most people who have insurance now get it through a group plan at their workplace, so Oct. 1 won't be an important date for them unless their coverage is expected to end or the coverage their employer provides is not considered "affordable." (More on that below.) Oct. 1 is also a nonevent for those who get health insurance through a government program like Medicare.

But if you're one of the 57 million Americans who have no health insurance at all, this is your opportunity to get coverage and protect yourself from financial calamity.

2. Will Uncle Sam cover part of the cost?

Most Americans will be able to get subsidies to help pay for the premiums if they buy insurance on a state marketplace. The first year, subsidies are available to individuals making up to $45,960 and a family of four making up to $94,200.

How much will you get? It depends on your income. CNNMoney explains:

The lower your income, the larger your subsidy. For instance, those making $17,235 a year will pay no more than 4 percent of income, or $57 a month, while those with incomes between $34,470 and $45,960 will pay a maximum of 9.5 percent of income, or $364 a month. The federal government will cover the rest. Also, CNNMoney says: "In addition to premium subsidies, those making less than 250 percent of the poverty line, or $28,725 for a single person and $58,875 for a family of four, are eligible for extra subsidies to defray out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and co-payments."