Open enrollment Obamacare to begin Tuesday, shutdown or not

Open enrollment Obamacare to begin Tuesday, shutdown or not

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Even if there is a government shut-down enrollment will still take place Tuesday into the new Affordable Health Care Act which is also known as Obamacare

The doors here at Highland Mall will open as usual Tuesday morning and regardless of what happens Monday night on Capitol Hill.

The most popular store at this mall may very well be the one providing access into the Obamacare Marketplace.

The security gate to what was a highland mall gift shop will roll up Tuesday morning and enrollment into Obamacare will begin.

"We are excited we are ready for October 1."

Elizabeth Colvin with the non-profit foundations communities has spent the past few days getting ready to manage a team of about 75 certified application counselors to help people enroll into the health insurance marketplace.

The privacy cubicles they put set up, according to Colvin, will be open for use despite the possibility of a government shutdown.

"The federal dollars have already been appropriated for the marketplace, and our program... we don't receive any federal funding," Colvin said.

A Capitol Hill melt-down that last into the new year could cause a problem for some. Those who qualify for a tax credit to help buy down the cost of their monthly premium may have to pay up front.

"But the way the tax credits are structured, that would be all refunded to you on your tax return in 2015, so you'd get the entire tax credit either by having it advanced the insurance companies on your behalf or you'd get the tax credit on your tax return when you file in 2015," Colvin said.

It's not known how many people will show up Tuesday but a few individuals slipped in Monday morning to ask a few questions.

Colvin expects a lot of people with pre-existing medical conditions will come in because under the Health Care Act coverage now cannot be refused.

Insurance shoppers here in Austin will have 80 different insurance plans to consider.

"The prices are very low there are prices that should fit into people's monthly budgets so we are excited for people to come look and see what the costs are see what their options are," Colvin said.

A pre-existing condition may no longer prevent you from getting insurance but you'll get pinched for having a bad habit. Tobacco users will have to pay more for their insurance than those who do not smoke or chew.

Another challenge to the launch of Obamacare was also considered Monday.

Members of the state board of insurance met this morning to talk about Governor Perry's order to require more training for people classified as federal enrollment navigators. But here why that will not come into play Tuesday.

More hearings have to be held before any rules take effect and as of right now the order does not target most of those helping with the enrollment in Austin. They're classified as certified application counselors - not navigators.

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