Obamacare opens for business Tuesday; 450,000 Oklahomans to be eligible for health care coverage

TULSA - The Affordable Care Act, known to many as Obamacare, launches Tuesday.

Many Oklahomans are still wondering what the law means for them.

Experts say insured Oklahomans don't have to do anything, but the 450,000 uninsured Oklahomans will soon be required to sign up for coverage or face a penalty.

MORE: What is the Affordable Care Act?  (http://bit.ly/1dRO35q)

Those residents must visit an online market place or health exchange.

"Irregardless for an employer, or if you're an individual without coverage, you are going to be able to go to the exchange and shop for health insurance," said Melissa Parchman, president of Maroon & Associates.

Parchman is licensed to help Oklahomans sign up for insurance.

Because Oklahoma did not set up its own exchange, the federal government did instead.

The exchange offers many insurance plans.

"The carriers that are going to be on the exchange have anywhere from 15 to 108 options," said Parchman.

Parchman said picking the right plan depends on a number of factors, including income.

"A family of four could qualify for help making their premiums if they make $94,000, so the subsidy is not just for poor people," said Parchman.

More than 40,000 licensed agents and brokers, including Parchman, are the only ones planning to help Oklahomans sign up for Obamacare.

More than 100 health care navigators are also ready to help.

The navigators were hired by three nonprofit community organizations using federal grants.

The navigators aren't licensed in Oklahoma but do receive up to 30 hours of training.

The organizations in charge of the navigators say the navigators will assist Oklahomans in signing up for the plan of their choice. They won't give their opinions about the law or about the plans offered by individual carriers.

To sign up for coverage, visit healthcare.gov.

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