U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Rep. Lloyd Doggett hosted a community forum at San Antonio College on Monday morning to address concerns about the impending Affordable Care Act.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, all Americans will be required to have health insurance.

Like many of the students attending the forum, psychology student Jacob Wong, 34, doesn't have health insurance. 

He said he's been uninsured since he was 21 years old. 

"I don't have insurance because all this time it would have taken up almost half my paycheck," he said.

Through the Affordable Care Act -- dubbed "Obamacare" -- Jacob will soon have insurance for about $100 a month, the most affordable plan that will be available.

Any preexisting conditions will not be an issue and experts say about six in 10 people will be eligible for this plan.

"The amount of money it costs to enroll is less than the cost of a monthly iPhone or other device," said Perez.

Still, nursing student Jami Boatwright, 36, said there's no way she'll be able to afford it.

"I have three kids and I'm a single mom, so even $100 a month is not in my budget," she said.

If Boatwright opts out of the insurance plan, she will likely face tax penalties in 2014. 

She was concerned about the impact it would have on a much-needed tax refund.   

"To me, it seems almost a penalization for being poor," she said. "As a person who has limited income, you look forward to the tax refund at the end of the year."

With nearly 308,000 people in San Antonio that are currently uninsured, it's an issue many will face.

There will be some exemptions and hardships will be taken into consideration. 

Enrollment for new affordable health care options begin on Oct. 1, with coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

If you have questions about plans available call U.S. Healthcare at  1-800-318-2596 or visit

KSAT 12 also has a page dedicated to explaining the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect you directly. It can be found at