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      Health care basics

      Enrollment in the Affordable Health Care Law opens October 1.

      If you don't have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act impacts you. By January 1, 2014, you will need insurance. You have several options for insurance coverage.

      "Through their employers. They can also go out and purchase it individually. They can purchase it off the exchange or if they'd like to take advantage of the premium credits and tax subsidies," said Leslie Gardiner, Health Insurance Consultant.

      Buyers will shop at the marketplace where they will pick from a range of plans. Also, new companies can't deny you coverage or increase your rates due to a preexisting condition.

      What if you decide not to get health insurance? You will be hit with a penalty fee.

      "A family of four, in a penalty, would face $285, or 1 percent of your income, which ever is greater. In 2016 that penalty jumps to over $2,000," Gardiner said.

      The new law covers 10 basic benefits, from emergency services to preventive care.

      "Right now alot of people have access to their health care through the emergency room. That is not the best way to do it," said Gary Muller, CEO Marquette General Hospital.

      Muller says the new law allows people to go to their doctor first, something covered under preventative care.

      The Affordable Care Act also changes guidelines for other government programs. More people may now qualify for Medicaid after the state of Michigan decided to support Medicaid Expansion, which will be implemented April of 2014.

      "You will now have coverage, that you didn't have before, and that could be upwards of 500,000 people. Depending on whose numbers you're looking at for the state of Michigan, that's significant," said Dennis Smith, UP Health Plan.

      Between 12,000 and 16,000 people in the Upper Peninsula would now qualify for Medicaid. For more information visit