Get Ready for Obamacare

If you buy coverage on your own, here’s what you need to know.

Three and a half years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, its major provisions are nearly ready for prime time. Beginning January 1:

  • Insurers will no longer be able to reject people or charge higher rates because of preexisting conditions
  • The premiums they charge older people will be capped
  • Most plans won’t be able to impose annual or lifetime caps on coverage
  • To control the cost of insuring the older and sicker, everyone—including the young and healthy—must have health insurance or face a penalty

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.