The online insurance marketplaces envisioned in the Affordable Care Act are now up and (mostly) running, which means a slew of new patients for family physicians may not be far behind.
Tuesday was the start of a six-month open enrollment period for people to buy health coverage through health insurance exchanges set up by the federal government or by individual states. The crush of visitors logging in to sign up caused delays for many state and federal exchanges, at least initially. Most people in the United States will be required to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty beginning early next year.
The Obama administration has said it hopes the exchanges (and an expansion of Medicaid) help reduce a significant portion of the millions of U.S. residents who lack health insurance. Those additional patients are expected to tax the current health care system, especially the number of family physicians and other primary care providers.
For more details on the exchanges, and the health reform law in general, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians' ACA website.
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