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Heard on Weekend Edition

Obamacare FAQ: How to Sign Up For Healthcare in Michigan by Dec. 15

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Image credit: www.healthcare.gov

It’s open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act through Dec. 15. We asked an expert common questions they run into when signing people up.

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Michigan residents have until Dec. 15th to go to HealthCare.gov and sign up for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, or switch plans. Its open enrollment for the health care plans and subsidies made possible by the law.

We’ve had families that have come in that have walked out with premiums as low as $2 per month.”  Madiha Tariq, ACCESS

Known as the Marketplace, HealthCare.gov allows individuals who don’t get healthcare through work or other government programs to find a plan and potentially receive federal money to pay for it. But there is still confusion on how exactly to use the Marketplace. 


Click on the player above to hear WDET’s Laura Herberg interview Madiha Tariq and click here to go to HealthCare.gov to start searching for a plan.


People think they will not be able to find affordable care or they will not be eligible for it,” says Madiha Tariq, Deputy Director at ACCESS Community Health and Research Center in Dearborn. “But, if you don’t have health coverage it doesn’t hurt to either go on HealthCare.gov or talk to the navigator because you might find a plan that’s right for you.”

We’ve had families that have come in that have walked out with premiums as low as $2 per month,” says Tariq. That’s because many low-income families qualify for subsidies under the law.

We asked Tariq to respond to common questions about HealthCare.gov and the Affordable Care Act.


All your questions about HealthCare.Gov, answered

What is HealthCare.gov?

What are subsidies and how do I know if I’m eligible for them?

How much will I have to pay for insurance?

How can I find help with signing up for healthcare?

Am I eligible for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act? 

What is HealthCare.gov?

HealthCare.gov looks at many different factors that impact an individual – their household size, their income, and a little bit of their health insurance history,” says Tariq. “Using that information they will provide you with the plans that are available to you. Then they’ll also provide you with the subsidies that are available to you.”

What are subsidies and how do I know if I’m eligible for them?

The Affordable Care Act provides funds, known as subsidies, to help with the costs of healthcare.

Subsidies can come in two forms,” Tariq says. “One would be that the subsidy reduces the amount of premium you pay monthly. The other is a cost-sharing agreement, so it trims off some of the costs that are associated with deductibles and other things that come with health plans. If somebody is in a large household and has a low income, they could actually be eligible for a pretty significant subsidy.”

How much will I have to pay for insurance?

It depends.

Health care is not free at this point, but the aim of HealthCare.gov is to make it as affordable as possible so that individuals can take it on,” says Tariq. “There are different levels of plans. You can have a bronze, silver, gold or platinum plan, with bronze being the most ‘no frills’ plan with the lowest costs and then platinum being your plan with the most benefits and the highest costs.”

We have people who can usually walk out, on average, with paying a premium that’s under $100 if they choose the right plan.”

How can I find help with signing up for healthcare?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal agency, “have this special program called the navigator program and ACCESS is actually one of the grantees here in Michigan,” says Tariq.

We can help individuals look through all of the options and provide them all the information they need to make the best and most well-informed choice about their health.”

Am I eligible for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act? 

Anyone from Green Card holders to US citizens to people who are here on a visa can go on HealthCare.gov and we can help them explore plans,” says Tariq.

If somebody is eligible for a Healthy Michigan plan the navigator can also help them sign up for that if their income level is low enough.”

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Laura Herberg, Community Reporter

Laura Herberg is a Community Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here. She has reported since 2010 without owning a car.

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