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Affordable Care Act (ACA)

On March 23, 2010, a healthcare reform bill -- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA) -- was signed to ensure U.S. citizens were provided with reasonably priced health insurance options. The bill warrants that health insurance is regulated by a series of guidelines and regulations for the development of healthcare programs and subsidies on a federal level, as well as regulations for the entire insurance industry.

Within the healthcare reform bill is a multitude of modifications and changes set forth to insurers, particularly with the following important facts:

  • The Affordable Care Act requires new regulations and guidelines for insurers.
  • All applicants will be insured - insurers are required to accept and cover all applicants, with or without pre-existing condition
  • Fixed insurance rates -- regardless of someone’s pre-existing conditions or sex, insurers must offer the same rates for applicants within similar age ranges and regions.

In addition, the ACA provides the Health Care Marketplace for individuals, families or small businesses can shop for health insurance policies. Another advantage to the Marketplace; all participating Insurers must observe and comply with all requirements set forth by ACA.

The healthcare reform bill mandates that all Americans, regardless of age, race, sex or health condition, be required to purchase a health insurance policy if one is not already set in-place. People who are not covered by an approved health insurance plan will be required to pay a tax penalty.

ACA Benefits & Advantages:

  • Creates & regulates minimum health insurance policy standards
  • Supplies subsidies, through an exchange on the purchase of insurance, for the benefit of smaller-sized businesses
  • Removes co-pay requirements, deductibles, and co-insurance for benefits connected to preventative care
  • Medicaid eligibility is expanded and must include an additional amount of people with lower-incomes while offering federal subsidies in aid to families with low incomes receive inexpensive health insurance coverage.

The majority of the changes set forth by the ACA began in 2014, though some phases will be integrated slowly, and will be phased-in by the year 2020.

In summary, the ACA was passed and approved with the intent of achieving the following goals:

  • Improving the quality and availability of health insurance, and reducing its cost
  • Increasing unrestricted and private insurance coverage and reducing the uninsured rate
  • Decreasing all costs for government and individuals in regards to healthcare