October the 1st is when the health insurance exchanges will open. Those exchanges are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act. You can shop for a health care plan, if you don't have insurance. That includes self employed workers just like Micki Maynard, the editor of Curbing Cars and a contributor at Forbes.
She represents one area of the health care market folks who are highly successful, but might now qualify for a federal subsidy. So they have a choice to make. In her case, she just signed up for Cobra and now she needs to figure out if she'll get a better deal with the ACA.
Maynard currently holds a few different positions to bring in the paychecks -- including a teaching gig at the University of Michigan and at Central Michigan University. While teaching, she usually earns a salary from the schools. On top of that, she does a lot of freelance journalism work.
CMU had offered her a health plan, but that just expired. She received a letter in the mail that she would be eligible for Cobra. The option she elected will be about $491 a month, and it includes prescription coverage.
Before deciding to take the Cobra insurance, however, Maynard went on to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan site to calculate alternative options. To get something similar to her Cobra plan would have been just under $1,000.
"If I could get health care for $300-$400 a month I would be very, very happy," she explains. "However, I'm not sure that's going to be possible. I just don't know."
Maynard says she's looking at all of her options, including what might be available for her under the exchanges.