By Dr. Sally Robinson and Dr. Keith Bly

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported in their Parent Plus column some information about the Affordable Health Insurance Act.

Starting Jan. 1, almost all Americans must have health insurance. If you do not have health insurance, you may have to pay a fee.

Now is a good time to see what health insurance benefits are best for your family and whether you qualify for a lower cost plan.

If your family already has health insurance through an employer, there is no need to change anything. Children 26 and younger can be covered on their parents’ health plan.

If you do not have health insurance, you can find options through your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. You can sign up for an insurance plan during the open enrollment period through March 31.

After March 31, you can make changes to your insurance if there is a life change such as a new baby, a change in income or job change or loss.

Families who have used Medicaid or a state-funded Children’s Health Insurance Program should make sure they are still able to get the same benefits.

Some families might have children who will stay on Medicaid, while their parents buy their own health insurance through the Health Insurance Market place, an insurance company or a broker.

If your family needs health insurance, here’s what to do:

Step 1: Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children website,

ACAmarketplace, which explains the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Look for the map and click on your state to find out where to get help. You can also go or call 800-318-2596 to get information on choosing and enrolling in a plan.

Step 2: Your child’s pediatrician knows what care your child should get and when. New insurance plans now cover the cost of checkups.

Anyone 19 years old or younger with a pre-existing condition must be insured, by law. People age 26 and younger who were in foster care at the age of 18 can sign up to be insured by Medicaid starting Jan. 1.

Step 3: Look at all options and prices. When deciding whether to use a marketplace plan or private insurance, consider that the marketplace price is based on family size and income. Choose what is best for your family.