Oct 1, 2013 6:57 PM by Chris Welty
Shutdown or not, key new provisions of President Obama's new health care law went into effect today.
Millions of Americans can now shop for medical coverage through new federal and state online health insurance exchanges. Bottom line, everyone needs to have insurance by January 1st or face fines of 95 dollars per person. As long as you sign up by December 15th, you should avoid the penalty.
President Obama says residents will have more choices with more competition and most uninsured Americans can get coverage for $100 or less.
Theresa Bourque disagrees with the President. She has a family of four and says she can't afford President Obama's mandated insurance.
"It's a lot better to be able to afford what we need to afford; groceries, electricity before a health care plan we can't afford," said Bourque.
She says her family's best option is to opt out of signing up for an insurance plan and pay a penalty. "You do $95 times four or $250 times 12, that's a big difference and for me, it's our best interests to do the end of the year penalty."
Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic provides free medical, dental and pharmaceutical care to the working uninsured at no cost. Executive Director Jeri Allison says since Louisiana didn't participate in federal expanded medicaid, those citizens who would have health coverage through that program will not be able to afford insurance.
"There are many who would suffer from chronic illnesses and acute, not to even mention preventative care that's needed if the clinic didn't exist," said Allison.
LCHCC is also worried their clients will have trouble signing up online for insurance if they want it.
"They can't do it on paper until they obtain a member id online. You've got this very complex method of setting it up," said Allison.