Alvin Chang / The CT Mirror
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Alvin Chang / The CT Mirror

When we asked readers to send in their questions about Obamacare last year, I figured most of the responses would fall into one of two camps: political commentary about the controversial law or theoretical questions about the future of insurance and the nation’s health care system.

But I was wrong. The questions were much more practical. And they were generally very useful. Many readers wrote to ask what they’d have to pay for coverage, whether they’d face a penalty if they lost their job and went without insurance, or how the deadlines worked. Some people wanted reassurance that something they’d heard about applied to their situation.

One thing it showed me: As complex as the debate about the health law is, navigating the health care system as a customer or patient can be even more complicated and challenging, especially as the system undergoes major changes.

So I’m happy to introduce our attempt at helping to demystify it: The Mirror’s Health Care User Guide.

It has a searchable list of questions and answers about Obamacare and insurance, links to resources and articles with information about health care costs and insurance plans. There’s a calculator to help you figure out what it will cost to buy coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange next year. There’s also a spot for you to share your experiences and questions.

I’ll keep taking reader questions and trying my best to answer (with help from experts who are kind enough to answer my calls).

We’ll add to the guide over time, and welcome your thoughts about what would be helpful to know.

See the user guide here.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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