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Health Exchanges Kick In Next Week

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Americans can start to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare next Tuesday, but do you know what that means?

"I'll be really honest with you, no," laughed one woman in Market Square.

Truth is, most people know very little about these health exchanges.

First thing to know: they are for people who do not have health insurance because their employers don't offer them, or they work part-time, or maybe they're out of work.

Nearly 1.2 million Pennsylvanians do not have health insurance, people like Dale Labby of Brookline who works part-time.

"My company don't offer it for part-time," Labby told KDKA money editor Jon Delano. "I think part-timers should have it, too. I think everybody should have it."

On Tuesday, Labby can sign up for one of 36 private company health plans offered under Obamacare with premiums of around $286 a month for mid-level coverage.

Price of plans vary with the platinum plan covering 90 percent of medical costs, gold 80 percent, silver 70 percent, and bronze 60 percent.

Open enrollment starts Oct. 1 and ends Dec. 15 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Doing needed exercise at the Workout Place, June Marcum of Ross has a pre-existing condition, MS, that can no longer be discriminated against.

"I'm excited and nervous at the same time because chances are the premiums I pay will go down, possibly a considerable amount," says Marcum. "On the other hand, I don't know what these new programs will cover, so I don't know how my medicine will be taken care of."

The exact terms of the plans are under wraps until Tuesday, and then those seeking insurance will have work to do.

"I'm going to have to sort through each of the 36 policies to see what is the best fit for me," adds Marcum.

To get more information, go to

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