Tips to help you navigate the Affordable Care Act

SOUTHFIELD (WXYZ) - Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins Tuesday, and 7 Action News is showing you what plans work for you and how to register.

The law, which is perhaps the most wide-ranging since Social Security, requires individuals to have health insurance. It also requires insurance companies to improve certain benefits, like providing free preventative care and extending coverage for children up to the age of 26.

Employers, like their employees, will have increased responsibility.

Small businesses, which are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees, are exempt from many of the law's mandates. Larger companies are not required to provide coverage for employees, but if they don't, they may face penalties.

Four groups in Michigan have received federal funding to serve as "navigators" for the public. They are Community Bridge Management, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan and Michigan Consumers for Healthcare.

Beginning October 1, Americans will be able to enroll in a plan on the public exchange or "Marketplace." That's where public insurance companies will offer government-vetted policies. They can be purchased online, by mail or in person.

The federal government's website offers details on the plan, and will allow Americans to shop for insurance plans.

7 Action News has put together a three-part report on the Affordable Care Act and how it affects you. Check back here and click on the video player for additional information.

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