I sat down with Attorney Jade Dodds who specializes in health care law. She says there is no need to panic.

Jade Dodds, attorney, "The enrollment period lasts 180 days, so it is until about March of next year. "

When it comes to making your decision, there are four levels of coverage to choose from; bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, and consumers will also have choices when it comes to providers.

Jade Dodds, attorney, "We have health insurance companies in Tennessee, there are four companies who are providing health insurance through the exchange, but there will also be dental coverage."  

Cost has been a major sticking point for both critics and consumers.  A recent report said Tennesseans will pay some of the Nation's Lowest rates.

According to the Kaiser Foundation's calculations, a family of 4 making $50,000 who are non smokers would pay $3,365 dollars a year, just over $280.00 a month.

Here is where things get sticky, and some people fall between the cracks.  For those who don't have dependent children and make less than the poverty income level $11,490 for a single person, they don't qualify for any assistance in states like Tennessee that opted not to expand their Medicaid programs.  
Jade Dodds, attorney, "Governor Haslam is working on what's called the TN plan and if that is approved by the federal government, then we will have something just a little bit different that will help families get private health insurance as opposed to the state Medicaid."

But at this point, that is still up in the air for those Tennesseans.

When it comes to winners and losers under this plan insurers will now have to offer a more generous benefits package that includes hospital care, preventive services, prescription drugs and maternity coverage.  For those consumers who used skimpier plans-or young, healthy people, they could see their premiums rise,  The benefits are greater for people who were previously rejected for coverage, or self employed and couldn't afford the higher cost premiums.

But the bottom line is if you are uninsured, you have to enroll and sign up for health care coverage.  If you don't you'll have to pay the penalties.

Jade Dodds, attorney, "But I think what people need to really understand is that the penalties will increase over time."