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How the Affordable Care Act affects you

healthcare documentsThe U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to largely uphold the Affordable Care Act has paved the way for the law to move forward. By 2014, people and small businesses will be able to find and purchase health insurance through the law’s exchange programs. Currently, some states have received approximately $850 million in grants to provide either a state-based exchange or state partnership exchange or to prepare for a federally facilitated exchange. These exchanges, according to the law, will be competitive marketplaces that will enable individuals to compare health plans, get answers to questions, find out if they’re eligible for health programs or tax credits and enroll in a health plan that meets their needs.

The law will also strengthen Medicare and provide access to preventive services and prescription drug discounts for seniors. The decision will also leave in place the controversial individual mandate, which requires Americans to buy health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a penalty. Penalties will start at $285 per family (or 1 percent of income) and rise to more than $2,000 by 2016. Young adults up to age 26 can still be covered under their parents’ insurance. By 2014, the law will make it illegal for insurance companies to refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

To learn more about the law and how it affects you, visit www.healthcare.gov.