October: Enrollment begins for the Affordable Care Act and you can start to compare insurance plans side-by-side.
January 1, 2014: Affordable Care Act begins
The Monterey County Department of Social Services is preparing to get involved.
"If they need to be in contact with the health benefit exchange center we will connect them with that," said Margarita Zarraga with Social Services. "If they need to be enrolled in the Medi-Cal program we will enroll them."
Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid is still in place and will continue to be when 2014 rolls around. Some of the qualifications include: being under the age of 65 and having an individual income of less than $15,000 per year. For couples, total income needs to be under $31,180 per year.
If you don't have Medi-Cal you can look to Via Care, a joint effort between Social Services and the Natividad Medical Center. It's a short-term healthcare option that started March 4, that bridges the gap from now until 2014. Qualifications include: being a resident of Monterey County, ages 19-64 and not currently eligible for Medicare or Medi-Cal.
The key changes for the Affordable Care Act in 2014 is no one is allowed to be denied healthcare coverage, you can keep your existing plan and you are allowed to stay on your parents' plan until you turn 26.