BC-US--Health Overhaul Q&A,ADVISORY, US

Editors:

Can I get a subsidy for insurance under the Affordable Care Act? What happens to me if I don't get coverage, as Obamacare says I must? My premiums have doubled; what can I do about that? I'm stuck in an expensive insurance plan at work — can I shop on HealthCare.gov for a cheaper one of my own?

The Associated Press received questions like these when it asked people on social media to send inquiries about what President Barack Obama's health care law means for their coverage, pocketbook and life. Questions of broad interest were selected for a three-part series timed for the final days before the March 31 deadline for open enrollment in the new insurance markets, called exchanges.

The first HEALTH OVERHAUL Q&A was released Friday, the second Monday and the third Wednesday. Each addresses several questions and runs 500-900 words.

This is prime time for the law, as people take their last chance this year to sign up for coverage in the exchanges, Medicaid is extended to more people in many states, job-based insurance undergoes change and people come to grips with the requirement for almost everyone to have coverage or face a penalty. The rollout means new opportunities, risks — and confusion.

In Wednesday's story, an Ohio woman asks how to find affordable coverage when an existing policy is canceled, then explains how she came up with a solution. And a woman in South Carolina inquires about how the penalty works for people who decide not to get coverage despite the law's requirement to do so.

AP may add one or two stories to the series; if so, we will advise.

For questions about the series, contact Cal Woodward at cwoodward@ap.org.

The AP

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