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Dallas County Braces For Healthcare Changes

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
Stephanie is an Emmy Award winning veteran reporter for CBS 11 N...
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(credit: Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Businesses and local governments across the country are bracing for changes coming to healthcare next Tuesday. That is when a key part of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect. The Dallas City Council will discuss the measure on Wednesday, and look at how it could affect our area.

Dallas County is getting a lot of attention because it is the fourth most uninsured county in the United States. According to county numbers, an estimated 30 percent of people living in Dallas County do not have health insurance. That equates to about 500,000 people.

The Dallas City Council will be briefed on Wednesday about what is expected to come in the next week.

New terms are going to become a popular part of the healthcare vernacular, such as Health Insurance Marketplace. This is essentially a way to sign up for health insurance and streamline the application process, putting all of the coverage options in one place.

Enrollment begins on October 1, and coverage starts as early as January 1.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the expected premiums for an average resident in 36 states, including those in Texas. According to the report, before figuring in tax credits and discounts, the Obama administration expects average insurance premiums to cost about $328 a month. But that amount is actually lower in Texas, and significantly lower in North Texas, thanks to competition among carriers. Premiums in the DFW area could cost, on average, about $223 a month.

There are two groups that Dallas County is trying to reach — those who are self-employed and residents between the ages of 21 and 30 who think that they do not need health insurance. The City of Dallas and organizations like the AARP are planning to help out Dallas County with registration efforts.

However, with everything that is happening in Washington, and Sen. Ted Cruz giving a marathon speech against the Affordable Care Act, all of these plans could quickly change.

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