Need insurance? Gov. health care exchange prices available Oct. 1

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s long. It’s complicated. It’s the biggest change in health care in our country in decades.

“I think they said it’s about 3,000 pages long,” Alonzo Thomas, Jr., said. “I mean, who’s gonna read that? You have to be a legislator to understand all of that stuff.”

Lauren Brasher is a full-time student at UAB. She’s heard a lot of talk, but not a lot of answers.

“I’ve seen stuff on the internet concerning getting fines or if it’s automatically being deducted out of your check,” Brasher said. “So that’s my biggest concern.”

If you’re feeling a little intimidated by all 2,409 pages of the Affordable Care Act, you’re not alone.

October 1st is the day when people without health insurance will be able to go online to and look through all of the options and compare prices. We won’t know all of the prices until that date, but the government has released state-by-state estimates for two ages.

In Birmingham, a 27-year-old making $25,000 dollars per year could pay $140 dollars per month for an average plan.  A family of four making $50,000 dollars per year could pay $205 dollars per month for the same plan. Those numbers include help from a federal tax credit.

For people who are covered under their employer, no huge changes are coming.

Jim Carnes is a policy analyst at the non-profit Alabama Arise.

“I think there’s been a misimpression that on October 1st, the fruit basket will turn over and everyone will do something new and different,” Carnes said. “But that’s not the case. This is an open door for people who have not been able to afford insurance.”

Carnes expects most of the confusion to subside once people can access the new prices for themselves.

Before October 1st, you can visit the Kaiser Family Foundation website, to calculate health care estimates based on your needs.

You can also visit before October 1st to get a head start on planning to purchase health insurance.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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