Forums attempt to battle misconceptions about nation's healthcare law

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Open enrollment for the new Affordable Care Act officially begins a week from Tuesday, and local representatives and health experts have begun the process of trying to explain how healthcare exchanges operate and what will happen when open enrollment begins.

The federal mandate that requires virtually everyone to purchase insurance is rapidly approaching, and yet there is still more confusion than understanding amongst the public when it comes to what exactly is required.

"It's such a complex issue, and there appears to be a lot of confusion," said retiree J.P. Neal.

That's the problem that brought Neal to learn more about the changes in health care we can all expect to see in the coming months as part of the Affordable Care Act. The biggest hurdle for health industry experts is separating fact from fiction.

"A lot of South Carolinians believe because we didn't set up a state exchange, we're not participating," said Adrian Grimes from Consumer Choice Health Plan.

But correcting misconceptions is only half the battle for experts. The other part is explaining the law itself from Medicare changes to insurance premiums.

"Insurance companies can't cheat more than 20 percent of your premium. They must turn 80 percent back into benefits, and if they don't do that, they got to write you a check," said Congressman James Clyburn.

Lathan Woodard from the South Carolina Primary Health Association says he's heard it all in regard to the law.

"'Oh I'm going to lose my Medicare, my premiums are just going to skyrocket,' and that's not true. An audience larger than this had wrong information," said Woodard.

Whatever questions brought them here, those who attend panels say they're leaving better prepared to handle what may come.

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