How to sign up for Affordable Care Act in Travis County


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 11:29 PM

TRAVIS COUNTY -- From Austin to Manor, Pflugerville, and Del Valle, beginning Tuesday if you want to sign up for health care through the government you can do so at one of 16 locations in Travis County. (Click here for a list of what items you need to bring.)

You can also sign up online on what is called the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The Marketplace lets people compare prices on insurance, like Expedia does for flights, while making sure people are telling the truth about their income and employment.  

However, Elizabeth Colvin with Insure Central Texas says for those who need help, they will be open seven days a week at two Austin locations ready to answer questions.

Questions like, “’How does this impact me?’ ‘What does this mean?’ ‘Do I have to pay a penalty?’ Because people are very concerned about the penalties. And we can sit down with someone, enter their information, and see exactly how the Affordable Care Act will affect their personal situation,” said Colvin.

If you want to enroll, expect to provide your social security number (or document numbers for visas or work permits), your age and your family members' ages, how much money you make, and whether you smoke.

“Insurance companies can charge up to 50 percent more for tobacco users,” said Colvin.

Colvin says what makes this health care coverage different is what they don’t ask.

“People with a preexisting condition can no longer be excluded from insurance, and insurance can no longer be priced based on their health," Colvin said.

Coverage will come in four main levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.

In Austin, the cheapest plan, the bronze, will cost the average 27-year-old making $25,000 per year, $85 per month after tax credits.

A family of four that makes $50,000 will pay an average of $64 per month after tax credits.

Experts say final prices will depend on how many people enroll.

Go here for more information on the Affordable Care Act.