This week opens the six-month window for uninsured people to figure out how and whether they’ll get coverage under the new system created by the Affordable Care Act. For some, it will be a time of punching their age and income into an online calculator and coming to know the words “bronze,” “gold,” “silver” and “platinum” as plan options rather than precious metals. For others, this first open enrollment period will bring news that they’re newly eligible for Medicaid benefits. And for others, not much will change because their state’s political leaders have rejected a piece of the ACA that promises to improve health outcomes for poor and low-income people.
Eventually, when all the conjecture is replaced by observable evidence, we’ll be able to draw conclusions about just how well health care reform is working and for whom. In the meantime, here are three questions to keep in mind.