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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