Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions
Policy + Politics

Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions


The health care landscape will change in 2014 when the most significant portions of the Affordable Care Act kick in. The new law will require all Americans to have health insurance (or pay a penalty) by January, and will require insurers to cover many folks who previously couldn’t get coverage.

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If you’re like many consumers recently polled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, you’re still uncertain about how the law will affect you. Luckily, along with lots of information, there are plenty of tools and calculators online to assist you as you sort out just how Obamacare may impact you and your finances.

To help answer some of the toughest questions (below) about the new health care bill, we’ve rounded up some of the best online resources. See the links within the following Q’s and A’s:

Q: How much will I pay for health insurance under Obamacare?

A: Your cost is determined by the state in which you live. Many, including Minnesota, California, and Oregon, have set up their own websites with calculators that factor in state specifics and include Medicare and Medicaid eligibility.

If your state doesn’t have a website set up yet, a few national sites will give you an estimate: Anonymously enter your income level, age and family size on the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation site to get an estimate of your eligibility for subsidies and how much health insurance might cost you.

For example, a family of four living on $60,000 a year will pay an estimated $4,913 in annual premiums for a Silver plan, which covers 70% of healthcare expenses, through the exchange, a discount of 50 percent with a government tax subsidy. Healthedeals and GoHealth have similar calculators.

Q: How will my coverage change?

A:  Changes to your current plan will depend on a variety of factors, including what, if any, insurance you currently have, the size of your employer, and your health status. Anonymously enter that info into the tool created by Cigna or Blue Cross Blue Shield to get a personalized report.

RELATED: Insurance Premiums a Mixed Bag under Obamacare

Q: What happens if I don’t buy insurance?

A:  Obamacare requires all Americans to have health insurance, either via their employer or purchased individually. Those who fail to comply by 2014 will have to pay a penalty, which begins at $95 and increases to a maximum of $695 or 2.5 percent of income by 2016. Use the calculator at to figure out how much you and your family could owe if you opt out of coverage.

Q: How will ACA affect my taxes?

A:  Use the calculator at the Tax Foundation to find a detailed breakdown of how the health care bill will impact your taxes.

Q: Am I eligible for any ACA benefits now?

A:  Respond to a few questions on the AARP site for a personalized report about how the law works with your existing coverage or what other health coverage you may be eligible to get now.