JEFFREY HESS, BYLINE: I'm Jeffrey Hess in Jackson, Mississippi which is one of the 34 states letting the federal government take the lead in establishing a health insurance exchange. Heavy web traffic and software problems have made it nearly impossible to use the new web site since it opened last week.
MEREDITH STARK: Why I keep trying is because this is something we need.
The health insurance marketplaces are now open for enrollment but there's still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges work, what insurance plans are offered and who qualifies for tax credits and subsidies.
On Oct. 1 the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act start the 6-month enrollment period. This means the uninsured or people who buy their own health insurance can now go to one place online and compare plans side-by-side.
The Affordable Care Act requires nearly every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning Jan. 1. The so-called "individual mandate" has been controversial ever since the law was passed.
But for people who fall into a few select categories, the mandate doesn't apply. Like Native Americans who get health coverage through the Indian Health Service, or people who are incarcerated.
Last month the Obama Administration pushed back the employee mandate under the Affordable Care Act by one year. Employers with 50 or more full-time workers now have until 2015 to either provide their workers with health insurance or face a penalty.
In states that are expanding Medicaid as part of the the new health law’s roll-out, businesses have more flexibility in deciding how to make sure their workers are covered. And though Louisiana is not participating, proponents of expanding Medicaid in the state see the delay of the employer mandate as a chance to rally some small business support.
Back in 2006, President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt talked with reporters during a trip to Florida, where Bush spoke to volunteers helping seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Families soon will be able to sign up for new health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Cheryl Focht of Mary's Center performs a checkup of Jayson Gonzalez, 16, while his mother, Elizabeth Lopez, looks on.
The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. Oct. 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.
It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law.
Uninsured Americans who are hoping the new health insurance law will give them access to weight loss treatments are likely to be disappointed.
That's especially the case in the Deep South, where obesity rates are among the highest in the nation, and states will not require health plans sold on the new online insurance marketplaces to cover medical weight loss treatments like prescription drugs and bariatric surgery.