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Healthcare Summit seeks to explain reform

Rochester, N.Y. - Freddi Macek has health insurance, but the retired teacher worries how the so-called Obamacare plan will affect retirees she works with through the Labor Council.

Many have lost their insurance, either because of a spouse's death or changes in company benefits. Most have Medicare but pay for prescriptions and other costs out of pocket.

Macek was hoping these supplemental costs might be covered under the Healthcare Reform. She learned they are not.

Macek and others attended a Healthcare Summit at the Memorial Art Gallery. Representative Louise Slaughter sponsored the event.

Insurers and other advocates answered questions about who this affects, how people enroll and what effect this will have on premiums for those who have health insurance.

Insurance Broker Michael King of Century Benefits Group said the theory is that once the majority of people have health insurance, it should lower healthcare premiums.

But he admitted there are still many unknowns. He did say we won't see the increases we have seen in the past.

Slaughter said we are all paying for the uninsured in our current healthcare plans, so she said this plan is not only more affordable for the government, but it should also mean lower insurance costs for most people.

Critics worry this plan will end up costing everyone more. A week before the enrollment for the mandated healthcare plan, some members of Congress are threatening to cut off funding for the plan by tying it to legislation that would avert a government shutdown.
States including New York have set up Health Exchanges to enroll the uninsured. Plans are based on income and there are government subsidies to help people afford their coverage.

It is mandated, and if people don't enroll, they could face penalties from the state.

Patrice Walsh, 13WHAM-TV
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