Many Exempt From Affordable Care Act
Roanoke, VA - The opening to sign up under the Affordable Care Act, also known as "ObamaCare", started Tuesday.
The federal website was so busy Tuesday that it crashed a number of times throughout the day.
Most Americans, as many as 80%, don't even have to worry about the new law because of current coverage.
"At the end of the day, if you are under some sort of coverage there is nothing probably for you to do," said Patrick Kelly, an Affordable Health Care Act Navigator.
Most Americans are already insured either through their employer, the V.A. or through another government program like Medicaid. Beyond that, there is a whole list of people who are exempt from participating: Native Americans, people in jail, people in challenging situations that include domestic violence victims, people in bankruptcy, and people who have recently been evicted.
People who don't make enough to file taxes and households that would pay more than 8% of their income are also exempt.
Religious situations exempt others.
There's a difference those who get their insurance elsewhere, and those who are exempt, however.
"The reason I distinguish between people who have exemptions and people who don't have to purchase is that people who need exemptions will have to go in and establish your qualifications for exemption while people who already have insurance have nothing to do," Kelly said.
Experts say everyone should look at the new law, even if you have insurance, as you never know what the law may mean for you.
"Recognize this as an opportunity to perhaps save some money. If you don't save money in the marketplace, stay with the plans that are already existing for you," Kelly said.
There is a whole subgroup of people who are too poor to get coverage but make too much to get Medicaid. Those folks need to wait until December to see if the state will opt to expand Medicaid, affecting 400,000 people.