ANN ARBOR — State Representative Adam F. Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) hosted a town hall Thursday night at Washtenaw Community College with information on how residents can obtain affordable health coverage.

Participants learned how to register for health insurance online via, if they do not already receive insurance through their employer or through Medicaid or Medicare. The federal government’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that every citizen have health insurance in 2014 or pay an annual penalty. The website provides a way to shop for insurance and use tax credits to help pay for it.

“Every American should have access to quality, affordable health care coverage. People’s livelihoods and their ability to contribute to society are undermined if they aren’t healthy,” Zemke said, noting that the state’s expansion of Medicaid using federal dollars will mean that 14,500 more Washtenaw County residents will have access to health insurance next year.

Presentations were delivered by Carrie Rheingans and Leah Hatch-Vallier, health policy analysts with the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation; Ruth Kraut, program manager for the Washtenaw Health Plan; and Dr. David Cooke, assistant professor from the University of Michigan Health System.

“We are extremely fortunate to have experts from organizations right here in Washtenaw County who are able to break down the nuances of the Affordable Care Act and help educate families about the importance of health care coverage,” Zemke said.

To find help signing up for insurance, call the 24-hour helpline at (800) 318-2596.