Story Of The Jews, Mary Burke’s Jobs Plan Released Today, How To Sign Up For Healthcare

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The deadline to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act is coming up fast. In this week’s Teach Me What You Know, Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett learn how to enroll for insurance on They also talk to a historian about his upcoming series on PBS, “The Story Of The Jews,” and discuss the jobs plan Democratic guberatorial candidate Mary Burke released this morning.

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  • Expert Offers Advice For Signing Up For Health Insurance Under Affordable Care Act

    The March 31 deadline for signing up for health insurance in connection with the Affordable Care Act is less than a week away.

    For those who are confused by the website,, or don’t know how to sign up, a health care expert has some advice for using the government website to get insurance.

    Nancy Metcalf, senior editor at Consumer Reports, said the first thing people need to consider is whether or not they need to use in the first place. Metcalf said if a person already has health insurance, this website isn’t for them.

    “What this marketplace is designed for is people who are buying insurance on their own,” she said. “They don’t have access to Medicare because they’re not old enough or don’t have access to job-based insurance either because their employer doesn’t offer it, they work part-time, or they’re self-employed.”

    Metcalf also notes that the website isn’t broken — as some people may believe. While news headlines focused on how poorly the worked after it initially launched last fall, the glitches have been fixed.

    “I would say the chances are extremely high if you go on there that you can get through the process without any trouble. It’s night and day difference (from) last fall,” Metcalf said.

    When a person first logs on to, a person might be put in a “virtual waiting room.” Metcalf said that is because it’s so close to the deadline to sign up for health care and a lot of procrastinators are trying to use the website at once.

    Once a person is out of the virtual waiting room, they’ll need all the information they use to do their income taxes to fill things out on the website.

    Since it’s tax season anyway, you probably have that (information on hand). Have it out and ready, because you’re going to need it,” said Metcalf.

    What you don’t need anymore is any information about your health history,she added. They don’t care. Everybody gets to buy health insurance — no pre-existing exclusions anymore.

    One thing people are especially confused about is whether or not people are required to buy a government health care plan. In fact, as Metcalf explains, there is no government option.

    “If you’re purchasing insurance through the health marketplace, you’re not going to be able to buy a government plan because there aren’t any,” said Metcalf. All of the plans for sale on the marketplace are private insurance plans from insurance companies you’ve probably already heard of, like Blue Cross, United Healthcare (and) Oxford.

    People might, however, qualify for a monthly health care subsidy from the government. Metcalf said about 80 percent of people who are using to sign up for health insurance are getting subsidies. What the subsidy will be is based on a formula that takes into account a person’s age, their income and other financial information.

    How should people decide what plan to buy? There are three levels of plans: bronze, silver, and gold.

    They all cover the same stuff,” said Metcalf. The difference is the bronze plans have lower premiums, but you’re going to be paying more out-of-pocket when you access the care. Silver plans are kind of in the middle. Gold plans have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket, meaning lower deductibles, lower copays, and so on.

    Once a person has picked out the health plan and figured out the deductible, people shouldn’t expect coverage to kick in by April 1. But, as long as you enroll by the end of March, you won’t be fined for not having insurance in 2014,” said Metcalf.

    Metcalf and her colleagues at Consumer Reports have created a website to help people navigate, called

  • The Story Of The Jews

    Renowned historian Simon Schama discuss the history of the Jewish people. His series, “The Story of the Jews,” begins airing on PBS at 7pm CDT.

  • Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke Releases Her Jobs Plan

    This morning Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke released her job plan, which she’s calling “Invest for Success.” Two WPR reporters covering the story update us on the details of the plan and Governor Scott Walker’s reaction. Then a political scientist discusses how this jobs plan might fit into this fall’s election.

  • Teach Me What You Know: How To Enroll In Insurance On

    The enrollment period for health insurance through for 2014 ends on march 31st. A health care expert at Consumer Reports explains how to sign on for this week’s installment of “Teach Me What You Know.”

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Nancy Metcalf Guest
  • Simon Schama Guest
  • Chuck Quirmbach Guest
  • Shawn Johnson Guest
  • Mordecai Lee Guest