What does the Affordable Care Act mean for me?

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:50:36 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 16 2013 12:23:16 PM CDT

The Affordable Healthcare Act may be the most important law passed in decades.  But it may also be the most complex and controversial because many Kansans are still unsure of what the law means for them.

FactFinder 12 hopes to explain the basics so you have a better understanding of the changes and if they impact you.

When does the Affordable Care Act start?

October 1st is the first day to begin the enrollment process.  You do not have to be signed up by then, enrollment is open through the end of March.  This is just the first chance to see and compare the different health plans offered in Kansas.

Who needs to sign up?

If you already have health coverage through your employer, you don't need to do anything.  But if you don't have coverage, you will need to sign up and purchase a policy through the online marketplace at  The law has a few exceptions, but for the most part everyone must have insurance or pay a penalty.

How much does it cost? 

That depends on the size of your family, the level of coverage and your household income.  The government offers upfront tax credits to help families at the poverty level and up to four times the poverty level.  The less you make, the more you qualify for. 

Where can I get help?

The state received federal grants to train more than 250 people called "navigators" who will sit down with you and walk you through the enrollment process and tell you if you qualify for assistance.  A lot of people will have questions, so don't hesitate to ask.  The Kansas Insurance Department and the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved are excellent resources.