The new law creates health insurance exchanges for those who can’t get coverage through their job. Exchanges will be set up in every state to provide “one stop shopping” so it will be easier to compare plans and prices. If you are eligible for insurance through an exchange and do not purchase it, you will be subject to a penalty. Exchanges start offering insurance in 2014.
All health plans in the exchanges must cover a range of benefits. These include medical, mental health, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative services. You will be able to pick among four levels of coverage to fit your needs.
If you have been uninsured for six months and have a pre-existing condition, you may be able to get coverage. This coverage — also known as “high risk pools” — should be available in your state by late 2010. It will continue until the exchanges start in 2014.