Health Care Reform
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Understanding the health care exchange

Updated: Wednesday, September 18 2013, 07:18 PM EDT

Rochester, N.Y. - These are the changes we've been hearing about for years.

 As part of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance exchanges were mandated for people without insurance. 

Think of the insurance exchange as a supermarket.

Just as there are multiple brands of peanut butter and jelly, this new health market will offer a variety of insurers, giving you options.

The market will be available for the uninsured or those who want to look for cheaper alternatives.

There are two types of exchanges, one provided by the state and another by the federal government.

The exchange also provides subsidies or tax credits for those who are income eligible.

Those who choose not to buy insurance, will be penalized

The goal is to make insurance affordable.

“Most people felt themselves limited by the options that their employers offered or there were very little available options,” said Director of Employment Law at Abrams Fensterman Sharon Stiller. “Theoretically, the availability of a number of options will cause more competition and therefore drive down the prices, premium prices for the insurance that's available on the exchanges. “

Stiller said the exchange can also give employers more options.

“It opens up a question about what's the best economical alternative for the business and are there different ways, the business can spend the money,” Stiller said.

Director of patient financial services at Unity Hospital, Chris Etsler deals with the uninsured daily.

“No one plans for a health care bill. It's not something like a car that you plan and budget for so it's an unexpected expense and people don't have it in your budget,” Etsler said.

Unity is one of many agencies providing special staffing, helping people to plan ahead.

“We have two full time employees who will help people to understand and answer any questions they might have,” Etsler said.

Health care providers and insurers are encouraging people to not wait until the last minute to enroll.

There are a number of resources available for help, you can find that under the green find it button on

13WHAM will provide a series of reports examining different aspects of the New York Health Exchange.

Enrollment begins October 1 and coverage begins January 2014.

Alexis Arnold, 13WHAM-TV
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Understanding the health care exchange

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The Obama administration achieved a major victory in late June when the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold the nationwide subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment for 2015 is closed but people with special circumstances can still get covered on

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