The Affordable Care Act says you must enroll in a health insurance plan by March 31, 2014, or you could face penalties -- up to $95 a person this year, more in later years. To help people buy insurance under this "individual mandate," the feds told each state to open a health insurance marketplace, aka exchange. In states that refused or failed to do so, the federal government runs the exchange. But health insurance exchanges aren't the only game in town. You are free to buy health insurance outside your state's exchange. Only people who qualify for subsidies are forced into the exchanges -- if your plan isn't from the exchange, you won't get your tax credits as subsidy. But for everyone else, the free market awaits.