HHS secretary in Jacksonville to promote Obamacare

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first deadline of federal health care reform is near and millions of Floridians don't have answers to some key questions affecting their future.

"What kind of coverage would I have?" asked Dee Minor, whose part-time job doesn't offer insurance coverage. "Can I go to any primary care doctor that I would like? Do I have to pay anything when I go to the doctor? Do I have to pay for my prescriptions? How long does it last? And is it mandatory?"

SPECIAL SECTION: Health care reform

Not all those questions have answers -- yet. Although it is mandatory.  Everyone is required to have health insurance by Jan. 1 or face a fine.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to the Sulzbacher Center in Jacksonville on Monday to meet with Mayor Alvin Brown and others in the community about getting information out about the health care exchanges that are about to open, offering insurance an potential government subsidies to individuals.

"The plans that a Florida resident to have to choose from in the marketplace will be Florida insurance companies offering Florida plans," Sebelius said.

But what those plans are and exactly how much they will cost is still unknown. The opportunity to see the plans will be available Oct. 1, which is also the first opportunity to sign up.

For people who don't have access to the Internet, the hope is that national pharmacy chains like Walgreen's and CVS will one day have information about the exchanges.

"I don't understand it at all, not even close to understanding it, and I'm pretty educated," said uninsured Jacksonville resident Amber Smith.

Sebelius and other are hoping many of the questions are answered and people's understanding of the plans will grow over the next three months.

About the Author: