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Seniors Confused About Marketplace

Given all the political fighting over the Affordable Care Act's online Marketplaces, many Americans likely think everyone will be shopping on them. In reality, most Americans won't be. The marketplaces are only for individuals who can't get (or can't afford) coverage through their employer. Small businesses will have their own Marketplace for shopping.

Medicare beneficiaries won't be on the new Marketplace. They have a separate system for enrolling in Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans -- the same system they've been using for years.

But because the enrollment periods both start around the same time, it's confusing, as USA Today reports. The new health law's Marketplaces for uninsured working-age adults is scheduled to open Oct. 1 and stay open through March 31. Medicare's annual open-enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and closes Dec. 7.

If seniors get confused and flood the new Marketplace for working-age adults with calls, it could overwhelm the service. So federal officials are trying to get the word out.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.