Affordable Care Act Basics

Healthcare Reform Basics

Affordable Care Act

Beginning January 1, 2014 most Americans must have health care coverage or they will pay a penalty.

-       How much is the penalty?The tax penalty can be as much as $695 per adult and $347.50 per child.   

-       Some people are exempt from this requirement: including low-income individuals and Alaska Natives. You can claim your exemption by going to, by filling out a paper exemption application, or when you fill out your 2014 federal tax return, which is due in April 2015.


You can now buy affordable insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace.  

-       You can shop for health insurance on the Marketplace (1) online, (2) over the phone, or (3) by paper application.

-       You can also use the Marketplace to apply for Medicaid and Denali KidCare.


Open enrollment for buying private plans ended March 31, 2014.The next proposed open enrollment period is November 15, 2014 - January 15, 2015. However, you can apply for Medicaid at anytime, there are certain life events that may allow you to enroll outside of open enrollment, and Alaska Natives can always buy insurance outside of open enrollment.


Premium tax credits are available to individuals and families with incomes between 100%-400% of Federal Poverty Level. In Alaska, premium tax credits are available to individuals who make between $14,350-$57,400 per year, and to families of four that make between $29,440-$117,760 per year. The lower your income, the higher your tax credit will be.


All insurance plans sold through the Marketplace must cover essential health benefits, including: emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventative and wellness services; chronic disease management; pediatric services, and oral and vision care.


Who can help you apply for health insurance and answer your questions?

-          Apply online at

-          Call the Help Center at 1-800-318-2596 or TTY 1-855-889-4325, or chat live on

-          Contact your local health clinic.