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Information on the Affordable Care Act is expected to change, so please check back, or go to healthcare.gov.

Starting January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires individuals to have health insurance. (It also requires insurers to sell insurance even to sick individuals, that is, no pre-existing condition exclusions.)

If you do not have health insurance, you will want to shop for it. Please keep in mind the following.

You may be eligible to use the new online health insurance exchanges (also called marketplace). Exchanges can help you locate and compare plans, including coverage, benefits, premiums (purchase price), deductibles, and co-payment costs. 

Timing is important: Open enrollment for purchase will take place October 1, 2013-March 31, 2014, with plans taking effect starting in January, 2014.

You may find that you qualify for assistance (subsidy) that will reduce your cost on the exchanges. Whether you are eligible for a subsidy depends on your income.

What to do now:

Start by making a list of things that will be important in your coverage decision, for example:

Know how your current health insurance plan (if any) works, whether it will continue, and when it will renew.

Know about coverage in the Ann Arbor area.

For Ann Arbor students, know what your U-M student fees cover: For currently enrolled U-M students (that is, taking regular classes on the Ann Arbor campus), most costs at UHS are covered by your health service fee, paid as part of tuition. Insurance helps to pay for other costs. See How UHS works with Health Insurance.

Visit HealthCare.gov, click on Individuals and Families, answer a few quick questions and you'll get:

  • A list of coverage options for which you may qualify (specific plans and prices available Oct. 1)
  • Answers that will help you make good decisions
  • A personalized checklist to help you get ready to apply
  • Access to a call center and chat for help

See where your state is in the roll-out process. Some states have opted for the federal government to run their exchanges, while other states are running their own exchanges. 

Consider the U-M Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan (DSHIP). Only U-M offers this plan, and it was developed to meet student needs. It is an annual plan and is not refundable once purchased. Its benefits are comparable to a “silver” plan on the health insurance exchanges. It is available for purchase only during certain periods, consistent with academic semesters, not state exchanges' open enrollment periods, with exceptions for qualifying life events. The fall deadline for purchase was September 24, 2013. The winter deadline for purchase is January 31, 2014.

In the future, you can also use the search tool at HealthCare.gov, but note that DSHIP will not appear in your search results, because student plans are not listed on the exchanges.

For more information: