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Affordable Care Act (ACA) Is the comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March of 2010. It is sometimes referred to as the Marketplace, Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The law has 3 primary goals:
1) Make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (premium tax credits) that lowers costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
2) Expand Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. ( Not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs).
3) Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the cost of health care in general. All medical health plans must offer a list of essential health benefits.
The Affordable Care Act also introduced a number of rights and protections for healthcare consumers such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing health conditions and making it illegal for insurance companies to cancel coverage for patients who become sick.
Individuals or families, whom are not on an employer group insurance plan such as those self employed, small business owners or students and those who are not on Medicare, may sign up for a marketplace plan during open enrollment or during the middle of the year as long as you qualify for a Special Enrollment period.