Officials Answer Locals' Affordable Care Act Questions

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PANAMA CITY - The majority of Americans haven't had to deal the Affordable Care Act until this year.

Many don't know how Obamacare is going to effect their federal income tax returns.

Federal officials estimate 38,000 Bay County residents do not have health insurance.

"They have heard of the Affordable Care Act. They've heard of Obamacare. They've heard of things like this, but they don't really understand how it applies to them and they don't understand how it may benefit them," said Larry Deutsch, Vice President of the Florida Health Connector.

The Affordable Care Act, which went into effect January 1st, requires all Americans to have some form of health insurance in place by March 31st.

Deutsch said, "If it is not in place by March 31st there are some penalties than can be invoked."

Those who don't have a qualified insurance plan will have to pay a penalty, 1% of your adjusted growth income or AGI.

The Florida Health Connector and Bay Medical Sacred Heart are teaming up to help locals choose a healthcare option.

"For a lot of people I know, it's too expensive. So Obamacare is promising that it's going to be affordable for people so that makes me want to get healthcare," said Carla Payton, Bay County Resident.
Others say they don't want to sign-up.

"I'd rather go uninsured because I wish to dictate when I'm going to get my own insurance, the time and place. I'm an american and that is my place, that is my right," said Chris Bicknell.

Bay Medical Sacred Heart is hosting a free seminar 6:00 Wednesday night to explore coverage options.