I have a friend that got a notice from her work about the new health care law, but I have not gotten one from my employer.  Should I ask about it?  What does the notice say, and will it help me get health insurance?  Right now I do not have any health insurance, it is not offered at work, but I know that I am supposed to get some in 2014.  Will my boss start providing it, is that what this notice is about?

The notice that your friend is referring to is called “New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage”, and there are two possible notices, one for employers who offer a health plan, and one foremployers who do not offer a health insurance plan.

Why did she get this notice from her employer?

Your friend’s employer gave her this notice in compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor’s requirement that employers provide written notice to their employees about health insurance exchanges.When is this notice supposed to be issued, and does my employer have to issue one too?This notice is required to be issued to employees no later than October 1, 2013, and applies to most employers, though there are a few exceptions.

What is the point of the notice?

In general, the point of the notice is to inform employees about the new government exchanges, how the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit or cost sharing reduction if the employer’s plan does not meet certain requirements, and explain what happens to any employer contributions to health insurance if the employee purchases coverage through the exchange.

Is every employee required to receive this notice?

Employers must provide the exchange notice to every employee, regardless of whether the employee is part-time, full-time, or did not elect health insurance coverage through the employer’s sponsored health plan.

What if I do not receive the notice?

You should contact your human resources department, or the person in charge of employees.

What is the penalty if I do not buy health insurance?

The penalty phases in over 2 years.

The penalty is small, why not just stay uninsured? 

The penalty is small; the cost of health care is high.  Having no health insurance prevents you from getting affordable health care when you need it, and that is just one reason, read them all here.

Do I have to use the exchange to buy health insurance?

No.  You can use the services of an agent or broker.  Their services are free to you, there is no difference in health insurance rates, agents can help you with subsidies, and agents have the most experience with health insurance.