Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obama Care, was signed into law, it has been met with its fair share of praise and criticism. Those for and against, both make some valid claims, and each side has expressed very compelling arguments to support their respective positions. And while the drafting, passing, and implementing of the ACA, is undeniably a political act, the access to health care, for not only American citizens, but for every human being on this planet, should be at the core of all governments, of all countries.

I have done research on the ACA and universal health care in general, and admittedly, still have questions, and don’t fully understand every aspect of its innerworkings. When Bill Clinton was in office, Hillary Clinton, made it a personal mission to establish a universal health care system. And later, the documentary SICKO, by Michael Moore, was successful in shedding more light on the topic.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Clinton, was met with much opposition, perhaps because she was “only” the first lady, or perhaps for all the same reasons Obama faced, or perhaps a combination thereof. Whatever the reason, universal health care did not reach the American people.

Many years later, Barack Obama has managed to provide all of us with an option. Undoubtedly, with much help from his former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who has long held the vision. (In fact, we wrote about her quest in our first issue.)

There is an overload of information available and many organizations that assist people with understanding and enrolling for the Affordable Care Act, but to simplify things, we’ve provided a quick Q+A overview.
Do I Have To Enroll in a Health Care Plan?
Yes and no. In the land of the free you don’t have to do anything, but if you want to avoid being hit with a fine, keep reading.
Yes, if you are not covered and:

2014-health-care-income-levels

What Happens If I Don’t?
If you meet the minimum requirements above, and you choose to remain uninsured, you will be assessed a penalty of 2% of your income or $325 per adult– whichever is higher.
How Much Does It Cost?
The costs vary from plan to plan, with some available for less than $10/month. Additionally, some plans are more affordable than the options you may be offered through your employer, so even if you are insured at work, enrolling in a plan under the Affordable Care Act, may be the better choice for your situation.

If you are not “required” to obtain health insurance, based on the minimum income requirements above, you may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid. Many states have extended their Medicaid coverage to include low-income individuals without children. Find out if your state has extended its Medicaid program, to be more inclusive.

When Can I Enroll?
Open enrollment is November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015.

If your gross income is less than the amounts listed above, you may qualify for Medicaid under many new state laws, which in most cases, have no deadlines, and coverage will begin immediately.

Where Can I Enroll?
To enroll online or to find an enrollment agency near you, visit GetCoveredAmerica.org or HealthCare.gov.
Have more questions? Find answers atHealthCare.gov.