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Open enrollment for health insurance under the new federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act, began on October 1 and will continue through March 31, 2014. 

For your protection, as you explore your health care options, please be aware of the following “precautionary” tips:

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If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to the Affordable Care Act and what it means to you, you’re not alone. Last week I introduced some facts and resources you need to know to be better informed and to take action on October 1st, which is tomorrow. Today I have compiled some of the questions our members have been asking. I hope these FAQs will help you decide what steps you need to take next. 

What is a Health Insurance Marketplace?

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In just under 100 fast-approaching days, the portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that applies to individual health coverage goes into effect. On January 1, 2014, health care coverage will become more accessible and more affordable to millions of Americans.  

Now, this means most individuals without employer-based coverage will have to buy qualifying coverage on their own to avoid a penalty on their 2014 tax return. You can’t argue there’s nothing more important than your health, but at the same time you probably have many questions. 

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The weather patterns have been making the news lately.  With the tornadoes that struck Moore, OK, it is amazing to see the destruction that wind can cause.  Just as amazing, are the resilience and compassion shown by the individuals and families affected by these devastating storms and the people that are doing everything they can to help.

Texas has its own challenges with weather related items.  The challenges caused by hurricane Ike are still felt by families in the Gulf Coast areas around Houston.  The insurance industry has its challenges, which have been reported in the news.  Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) has made recent headlines including:

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A few years ago, our family made plans to take a short trip to visit family. We made three attempts to drive from our home in Morris, MN to our parents’ homes in Aberdeen, SD, before successfully getting down the road with our nine month old daughter in tow.  It was spring time; sunny skies and spring flowers come to mind, right? Well, not so fast. That winter there had been multiple snow storms that left snow banks all the way up to the edge of our home’s roofline. I think it’s safe to say there was a lot of “weather” happening that season.  

Back to the road! Little did we know we were setting off on what would turn out to be an “interesting” adventure.  What you don’t know is that spring there were devastating floods that hit parts of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. Yes, you guessed correctly. We got caught in high water. The whole car load of us got stranded twice along the way and our car ended up with severe damage that resulted in having to tow it the last 75 miles of our trip. We survived the trip to see the family and all was well, or so we thought. When we finally got back home safe and sound and avoided more flood water, we found our house had been without heat for about three days. Remember when I mentioned the extreme weather we were experiencing that season? Well, as you can guess, we had another mess to deal with when we returned home.

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