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Covered California Spreading Word, Answering Questions About Affordable Care Act

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January, where everyone will be required to have health insurance, or face a fine.

But how is Covered California, the state's implementation of the act, informing the public about their plans?

"I just get cans wherever I can."

At 56 years old, Minerva Camacho is picking through the trash for cans to supplement her monthly $866 SSI check. She has health insurance, but says it's the bare minimum.

"I can't go to the dentist. I can't go to the eye doctor."

It's one of the many things people are confused about when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, vision and dental plans will not be available for adults—at least not in the beginning.

"I feel like it's ring around the rosies—playing phone tag a lot."

Kerrin McDonnell says her 10-month-old daughter has no coverage right now, and she feels overwhelmed about what to do.

Turns out she's not alone—7 million people in California are uninsured.

Covered California is hoping to educated the uninsured about the Affordable Care Act with new ad campaigns.

"We've got challenges of making sure people know about the rules and opportunities."

Executive Director Peter Lee says they've done their research, targeting certain groups.

"Lower-income people watch TV. Looking specifically at cable shows they're more likely to watch."

One of the biggest changes with the act will be when you file your 2014 taxes.

"You'll need to say how you had health-insurance coverage, and if you didn't have it, the IRS will have a penalty."

The penalty will start at 1 percent of your income, but by 2017 increase to 2.5 percent.

Even with some financial assistance from the government for buying health insurance, some families will still find it a struggle to afford.

"We have not made health care free. We haven't made health care cheap. What we've done is make it affordable."

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