Top 10 Things You and Your Family Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

1. Co-pays are a thing of the past for many routine items and for preventative care, like physicals, immunizations, and cancer screenings.

2. Young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26, even if they’re married, working, and living on their own.

3. You can no longer be excluded for having a pre-existing condition, or be charged more than a healthy person of the same age.


4. Starting January 1, 2014, most Americans must have health insurance via private insurance, their employer, Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California), or Medicare. You’re exempt if the cheapest qualifying health plan costs more than 8% of your income after tax credits and subsidies.

5. States that opted for expanded Medicare coverage have a health insurance exchange (California’s is called Covered California). These exchanges act as marketplaces where different insurance providers offer high-quality, affordable plans for consumers to choose from. Residents of states without exchanges can get coverage on

6. Open enrollment is from now until February 15, 2015. After open enrollment, the only way you can get insurance is if you have a life-changing event (marriage, divorce, out-of-state move, new child). Medi-Cal enrollment in California is open all year round. Open enrollment periods are offered in the fall and spring.

7. If you have insurance through your employer, you’re already covered and shouldn’t expect anything to change. You do still have the right to see if you can find a better plan on your own.

8. If you have an individual plan, you’re considered covered, but your insurance company may change your plan in the coming year.

9. The penalty for not having insurance starts at $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is greater. This penalty will increase in future years.

10. The Affordable Care Act does not apply to people who are not legal residents.

Ready to enroll? Have a Covered California enrollment counselor walk you through the process by signing up here. (Use EH3664 as your referral code.) Schools can download materials to help families learn about health coverage here.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated with all the ways the Affordable Care Act is making health care available to more kids at school. Support our work to connect families to the new health coverage options.