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Text provided by staff writers of The Palm Beach Post

What do I have to do?

Beginning Jan. 1, everyone will have to have health insurance. Policies must include what the government considers minimum essential benefits. People without health insurance, with some exceptions, must pay a penalty when they file their tax return in 2015.

The basics on getting insured in the new marketplaces

Where to go: Choose your state from the list at Healthcare.gov to apply for coverage or compare plans. 

When: Open enrollment starts Oct. 1 and runs through March 31, 2014

What happens:

  1. Fill out an application.
  2. The government gives you options and helps you compare coverage and costs (including deductibles, premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.)
  3. You decide whether to enroll and, if so, pick a plan.
  4. You enroll.

Here’s how the health care law could affect you:

Important information about health plan choices

When you compare marketplace insurance plans, they're put into four categories based on how you and the plan share the costs of care. Click here to find out more.

Am I covered?

You won’t pay a penalty if you meet one of these conditions.

Fees

If you’re not insured in 2014, you’ll have to pay a fee on your 2015 federal income tax return. What are the fees?

Who doesn't have to pay the fee?

Uninsured people won't have to pay a fee if they meet one of these conditions.

I have insurance through my employer

You’re covered for 2014 as long as you have minimum essential benefits. Your employer should let you know in re-enrollment papers. Can I shop the marketplace rates anyway?

I'm on Medicare

Medicare benefits have expanded under the health care law. Find out what additional benefits you may receive.

I have a chronic disease

Starting in 2014, being sick won't keep you from getting health coverage. An insurance company can't turn you down or charge you more because of your condition. Are there any exceptions?

How can I tell if I qualify for Medicaid?

Each state has different rules about who qualifies for Medicaid. Click here to find out if you qualify.

I don’t qualify for Medicaid, but I can’t afford health insurance

In 2014, an individual making up to about $45,000, or a family of 4 making up to about $94,000, may qualify for lower costs under the Affordable Care Act. Click here to see if you qualify for a subsidy.

I am a veteran

If you are enrolled in (or are a beneficiary of) any of these programs, you’re considered to have minimum essential coverage under the health care law.

I am responsible for a child without insurance

There are several options available. Click here to see if your child qualifies.

I am an immigrant

To be eligible for health coverage through the marketplace, you must meet these qualifications.

I am an American citizen living abroad

Generally, health insurance coverage in the marketplace covers health care provided by doctors, hospitals, and medical services within the United States. Find out more here.

I own a business with 50 or fewer employees

If you offer insurance coverage now, you can keep your plan. You also can offer a plan through the Small Business Health Options Program, which could qualify you for tax credits. Find out more.

I am self employed

If you have no employees, you can shop for insurance at healthcare.gov starting Oct. 1 and possibly qualify for lower costs. Find out more.

Sources: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kaiser Family Foundation, Palm Beach County Health Care District, Florida Department of Children and Families, Palm Beach Post staff research

The Latest News Headlines

  • Andy Szasz was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and beat the initial cancer after receiving treatment, but after falling ill with pneumonia in December, he was rushed to the hospital and placed into an induced coma the next day when he stopped breathing. >> Read more trending news Doctors at Southampton General Hospital in England estimated he would be in a coma for a week, but they were surprised when he woke up after just four days with the help of his dog, Teddy, a 4-year-old schnauzer-poodle mix. While waiting for him to come out of a coma, Andy’s wife, Estelle, received special permission to bring Teddy into the hospital. Pet visits usually take place outside the hospital, but hospital staff made an exception for Teddy. Inside Edition reported that Andy woke up from his coma as soon as Teddy entered the hospital room and started barking. “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways,” Andy said. “He’s clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character.” >> Related: Mastiff named Martha crowned world’s ugliest dog Fiona Hall, senior sister for the general intensive care unit, told the Daily Mail that having pets around during recovery can be incredibly beneficial for patients, their friends and families, and hospital staff. “It can be motivational, aiding recovery, and can provide a pleasant and familiar experience in what can otherwise prove to be a long, uncomfortable journey in hospital,” she said. For helping his owner wake up, Teddy was recognized by the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the same organization Andy adopted him from, under a special animal category. He was the only animal to win an award under the newly-created category.  >> Related: Dog saves family with nine children from house fire
  • An overweight passenger on a Spirit Airlines flights from Las Vegas to Denver said he was embarrassed and humiliated by the airline when it took away one of two seats he had booked in order to fly more comfortably. >> Read more trending news Jose Cordova told Denver 7 that he bought two seats on both his original flight to Vegas and for the return trip because of his size. 'I am a big person and I know one seat wouldn't fit for me, and to be comfortable, I wanted to have two seats,' Cordova said.  'You don't want to overhang on someone else's lap, so you want to make sure you have that extra seat without bothering anybody.'  Cordova said his flight to Vegas was fine, but Spirit overbooked his return flight and took one of his seats without asking. >> Related: United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from flight “They stole one of his seats. They sold it out from under him,” Denver 7 quoted one of Cordova’s friend Scott Tenorio as saying. Spirit apologized to Cordova and said it was refunding the cost of his flights. It also said it was investigating what happened.
  • A 14-year-old girl fell 25 feet from a gondola ride at Six Flags Amusement Park in Queensbury, New York, Saturday night as a group of park guests gathered under her to help break her fall. >> Read more trending news The “Sky Ride” was stopped at the park about 55 miles north of Albany when the accident happened, according to CBS News. The teenager was on the ride with a child relative when she fell from the two-person car, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.  The ride was stopped after the operator was told of a rider in distress, CBS reported. The video shows the girl somehow slipped through the safety bar, which briefly held her aloft while she dangled in the air. The teen from Delaware struck a tree before landing in the crowd, which had gathered to catch her. She was treated at the park, then taken to an area hospital. >> Related: Girl, 11, dies after falling out of ride at water park Park officials said the ride was working properly. “There does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until the a thorough review can be completed,” USA Today reported park officials said in a statement. Another person was injured as he was trying to help catch the girl.
  • A missing North Carolina teenager, who vanished last year, has turned up at a home in Georgia. Hailey Burns, now 17, has been reunited with her family at an undisclosed location in Georgia, according to law enforcement sources. >> Read more trending news A FBI special agent in Charlotte learned of information that led investigators to a home in Duluth, Georgia, where they found Burns. A man found at the home, Michael Ren Wysolovski, was taken into custody and is now facing a number of state charges, the FBI said. The FBI in Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue their investigation into Burns' disappearance and will work closely with the FBI Atlanta and the Gwinnett County Police Department.  Burns  was last been seen at her Charlotte-area home on May 23, 2016. Police said at the time they had information that she may have left of her own accord and they weren’t sure if she had help. “You have to let go of the hope that she will just walk through the door, the teen’s mother, Shaunna Burns, said in a later interview. “We are past that point. She is not just going to come home in the middle of the night. You have to hope that they still find her, wherever she is.” >> Related: Body, likely missing Arkansas boy, found after 3 relatives discovered dead “You have to distract yourself because you will drive yourself crazy wondering what you could have done, or could be doing,” her father, Anthony Burns, said after his daughter disappeared.
  • Like other first year students corralled in Wesleyan College’s auditorium in Macon, Georgia, Dana Amihere didn’t know what to make of the spectacle unfolding on stage. >> Read more trending news It was fall 2006 and the freshman had been awakened in the dead of night. A group of sophomores stood on stage yelling, screaming and cheering as part of a hazing ritual that seemed part pep rally, part seance, she said. But one feature struck Amihere, an African American, about the young women on stage tormenting the first year students: They wore purple, hooded robes. “They looked just like Klan robes,” she said. “It was kind of like bells and whistles going off.” Amihere had no idea at the time how close she was to the truth. For more than a century, the nation’s oldest college chartered for women has had historical links to the Ku Klux Klan that have never been formally acknowledged. Its class names in 1909, 1913 and 1917 were the Ku Klux Klan. The 1913 yearbook is named the “Ku Klux.” A sketch of a masked night rider on horseback galloping under crescent moon graces the title page. The 1910 yearbook contains a prominent sketch of a female figure in white hood and robe holding a burning cross. Read more here.

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