Today is a big day in the health insurance world. People with no insurance or who need to change their coverage can now start researching new plan options. 

As this phase of the Affordable Care Act takes effect, do your best to get information from reputable sources and make your decisions on facts, not hearsay or rumors. The new plans are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014.

- If you are currently insured and aren't notified of pending changes to your existing plan, you probably won't have to do anything except check a "yes" box on your next tax return. Check with your employer and/or current health insurer. 

- If you are currently uninsured or if your insurance situation is changing: The all-around best starting place for accurate information is healthcare.gov. If you live in a state that has set up a new health insurance “Marketplace” you can visit their website or call the state agency that oversees insurance companies. Visit our State by State help section to find a link to that agency.  If you have a chronic or serious medical condition, there are numerous disease-specific organizations offering targeted information. 

- If you want help from a human being: Seek guidance from a reputable and experienced health insurance broker or a trained and knowledgeable "navigator." 

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act three years ago as a long-term fix for a very serious problem: Medical care costs have been dragging down our economy and jeopardizing the physical and fiscal health of Americans. As with any reform of this magnitude there will be an adjustment phase. UP will continue to inform our readers as new information surfaces.

Have a healthy attitude!