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Affordable Care Act in Utah: What's In It for You?

PHOTO: The website HealthLawAnswers.org asks seven questions to produce a report on possible effects of health care reform for an individual or family. Photo credit: Chris Thomas

PHOTO: The website HealthLawAnswers.org asks seven questions to produce a report on possible effects of health care reform for an individual or family. Photo credit: Chris Thomas


August 13, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - Seven questions and about five minutes. That's what it takes to get a basic look at what the Affordable Care Act means for an individual or family, on a new website set up by AARP. The national advocacy group for people 50 and older says HealthLawAnswers.org isn't intended as a substitute for the health insurance exchanges that will be up and running in states this fall.

However, says Alan Ormsby, AARP Utah state director, even people who don't like the new law will most likely be able to get something out of it.

"What this is intended to do is get people thinking about, 'What does this mean to me and how could I best use the Affordable Care Act's benefits to my advantage?'"

HealthLawAnswers.org doesn't ask for any identifying information and AARP doesn't track who uses it, adds Ormsby. Putting in your zip code and answering questions about your current insurance status, sex, family size and income produces a summary of possible benefits, things to consider if you'll be getting or changing insurance coverage, and places to find more information.

For low-income Utahns, the state is still trying to determine whether and how to expand Medicaid. Ormsby said he's encouraged by what he calls Utah's "thoughtful approach" to making the decision, by seeking recommendations from a wide-ranging community work group.

"Would we like to have the full Medicaid expansion? Of course," he said. "But we also realize that the political realities in Utah mean that we're going to probably have to come up with a Utah-based solution."

Expansion could add more than 120,000 people to the Utah Medicaid rolls. Based on a first look at the ideas from the work group released earlier this month, Utah is likely to have a hybrid plan that blends what the feds require with what state lawmakers will agree to.

That website is HealthLawAnswers.org, and the site is also available in Spanish, at
healthlawanswers.aarp.org/es
.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - UT
 

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