On the opening days when those without health insurance could get it, there is a lot of false information being touted about the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act passed Congress three years ago. It is actually two separate pieces of legislation: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Dr. J.J. Herman is an allergist who has studied the act extensively. He said, "90 to 95 percent of it is almost word for word from a law that was proposed and passed most of the House in 1994. It originated in the Heritage Foundation, and was proposed by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich."
But the term "Obamacare" stuck to the act from the beginning, and polls indicate that has much to do with an overall negative connotation.
"Probably the other part of the confusion is that it wasn't explained well. There is a hard-to-target group of uninsured people. It's hard to find them, and target explanation to them," Herman said.
The Affordable Care Act is supposed to provide Americans with better health security. It promises to expand coverage to more people, lower health care costs, give Americans more choices that fit their needs, guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions that would normally be denied and hold insurance companies accountable. If you are not covered by 2014, you may have to pay a fee.
"There are four categories," Herman said. "They are colored: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. With the level of coverage, cost is different, type of coverage and amount of deductible is different."
Navigating the website can be overwhelming. So, if you are confused on how to sign up for a plan a Lubbock company called "Starcare" is helping the elderly and disabled work through the system. Starcare representatives tell us they will not turn away anyone asking for help. You can email
them or visit their website
Roger Karr is the Director of Community Relations and Volunteer Services for Starcare Specialty Health System. He said, "basically, if people don't chose a program for themselves, then they will be put in a program. And by having yourself put in a program, it may not meet your needs. So, what we're doing is helping people look at the different options, look at what their needs are and then helping them pick the program that they need."
Before you pick a program, you have to get through the sign-up. There have been glitches with the ACA website, and widespread reports of trouble for many trying to work through the sign-up procedure.