Letters to the Editor

Health care law website answers coverage questions

Recently, a reader complained in a letter that he had been unable to find anyone who could answer his “one simple question: Where do you get affordable health care?” I write to offer some suggestions.

If the reader is 25 or younger, he could be carried on his parents’ health insurance policy. If he is employed, he might be eligible for employer-provided health insurance. However, if he is older and lacks a generous employer, a useful step would be to go online to the official website for the health care law: www.HealthCare.gov

At the top of the opening page he will see a box, “Explore Your Coverage and Pricing Options.” After selecting the appropriate state (Florida), he should fill in the brief questionnaire that best describes his situation.

That information will take him to several insurance plans that are available to him here in Florida, allowing him to compare both the coverage that each would provide and the cost for that coverage. The law, of course, doesn’t guarantee that insurance companies will charge low premiums, but it does provide information that encourages comparison shopping.

Two additional things to keep in mind: If one’s income is at or below the poverty level, a person should be eligible for Medicaid -- a health care program financed jointly by the federal and state governments. For those who are above the poverty level but still struggling to pay health insurance premiums, they may be eligible for financial assistance in 2014, when the health care law may be fully implemented, and the state of Florida has established the required health insurance exchanges.

Suzanne C. Dickie