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Affordable Care Act Reality Check

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — I'm self-employed, middle-aged, healthy and chronically uninsured – and a target enrollee for a new healthcare plan through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, come October 1, 2013 (that's less than two weeks away). But what even is Obamacare, what will these health plans cost and is it for me?

These are burning questions all Americans have, according to a new Bankrate.com monthly report, Health Insurance Pulse. The most recent report found that 28% of Americans wonder how the ACA will affect their current healthcare plan followed closely by 24% who want to know how it will affect their household budget (that's me). Still some 20% wonder if the Affordable Care Act is really going to happen and 15% just want to know what Obamacare is.

I called up Dr. Sherry Glied, Ph.D., who chairs the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health to ask her if there is enough being done to educate the American public about the healthcare changes coming next year.

Glied noted that there is plenty of time for Americans to learn about the ACA and how it will affect them. In fact, the ACA is really going to happen, and though open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013 for health plans that start on January 1, 2014, you really have until March 31, 2014 to sign up when open enrollment ends.

We Americans (doctors included) aren't quite sure about how things might change as a result of the Affordable Care Act either or whether they will change at all, and many don't know what, when or if they are supposed to do something about it.

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