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Answering questions about Obamacare

Just days before Obamacare goes into effect, the man behind the new law spoke.

President Obama told everyone on October First millions of Americans without insurance can purchase a plan in an online marketplace.
And those without insurance would be forced to pay a fine.
And days before the exchange goes live, a survey shows 39 percent of Americans approve of it, 51 percent disapprove.

 And many Americans have questions as they prepare for the healthcare exchanges to open next week.      
Our national correspondent Kristine Frazao to a look  at some of those most frequently asked.

In just a few days, healthcare exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act go online.
Here in Washington, Obamacare as it's come to be known has become the most used political football.  But it's also a reality for millions of Americans and we wanted to answer some of the questions people most commonly have.

Question number one is for those of you who already have health insurance through your job what you need to do?

The answer is pretty simple says Doctor Mark McClellan, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
"For people who have coverage through their job you should look to your employer first, not to the exchanges."
 
As far as who does need to register? Anyone who doesn't have insurance.  But October First is when the exchanges open.  You have until the end of march 2014 to register. If you want coverage sooner, then sign up sooner.

If you don't have insurance and you don't sign up you'll be required to pay a penalty on your 2014 tax return.

For people with lower incomes they are eligible to get help affording the premiums so paying the fine is not cheaper for everyone.
 
 "The question may be is it worth getting the insurance and everything I have to pay for that versus the risk of not having coverage if I need it."
 
 Now onto one of the most popular questions, will I keep to keep the doctor I have?
 For most people the answer is yes.
"Most people who have coverage through their job are not going to be directly affected by the new exchanges."
 
People who may not are those who buy health insurance on your own or who are getting it through a small business.
 
Finally, what does it mean if your state is not participating in the exchanges?
 
"the law requiring you to have insurance or pay a fine applies to everyone in the united states regardless of whether your state govt is participating in the exchanges."

In these states, the federal government is managing the exchanges.

These of course are just a few questions but we thought it was important to get those answers out there.  What everyone needs to remember is October First is a STARTING date, not a deadline.  That doesn't come until March 31st 2014. In Washington, Kristine Frazao reporting.

The healthcare reform is closely tied to threats of a government shutdown.
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