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Who In Illinois Is Eligible Under Affordable Care Act?

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CBS Chicago (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSChicago.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSChicago.com/Health

CHICAGO (CBS) — Next month begins a new chapter in health care that many Americans are still trying to figure out.

On Oct. 1, open enrollment begins for what some call Obamacare.

It’s really called the Affordable Care Act, and it affects 1.4 million people in Illinois who currently do not have health insurance.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker explains what they need to know.

At 22, Lashonda Bailey is young, single, usually healthy and terrified every time she gets sick because she has no health insurance.

“So you really try and stay home and get through what you’re going through instead of going to the doctor because you worry about how to pay for the bills,” she said.

Bailey lives the life of America’s uninsured.

She is one of an estimated 1.4 million people in Illinois who would qualify for low-cost insurance under the Affordable Care Act–and must now buy it.

It includes people who don’t have health insurance, are not covered by a spouse or family member, or work for a small company that doesn’t have to offer it.

It is also for people who pay out of pocket for their own insurance because their employer doesn’t offer it.

People who don’t qualify: Those who already have health insurance through their medium or large company or are eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

“Your plan will remain as it is,” said Myra Nash-Johnson of Sinai Health System.

Those who qualify can start shopping for insurance on Oct 1.

That’s when the government will provide a list of plans online.

The cost depends of a variety of factors, including your age, family status (i.e. single, married, children) and how much coverage you need.

Based on her $19,000 salary, Bailey could pay as little as $100 a month for insurance to cover office visits, hospitalization, prescriptions and more.

“That would be awesome,” she said. “I can go to the doctor even when I’m well. That would be awesome.”

There are a lot of websites that offer information about the Affordable Care Act, but the official site is healthcare.gov.

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