General Information About the Affordable Care Act

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. It was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.

The law is designed to increase coverage, improve benefits, and provide important new insurance protections for all Americans. Most of the ACA will take effect over several years beginning in 2010. For an ACA timeline describing what’s happening and when, go to: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/timeline/timeline-text.html

Will I be Required to Have Health Insurance?

According to the ACA, most people will be required to have health insurance starting in 2014. This is sometimes called the “insurance mandate” or the “individual mandate.” People who do not have health insurance must pay a tax.

The Tax for Not Having Insurance

2014 $95 per adult and $47.50 per child (up to $285 for a family)
OR
1.0% of the family income (whichever is greater)
2015 $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (up to $975 for a family)
OR
2.0% of the family income (whichever is greater)
2016 $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $2,085 for a family)
OR
2.5% of the family income (whichever is greater)
After 2016 The taxes will be increased every year based on the cost of living.

You will not be required to pay a tax if:

For a picture that explains the insurance requirement, go to: http://kff.org/infographic/the-requirement-to-buy-coverage-under-the-affordable-care-act/

How Do I Get a Health Insurance Exception?

If you belong to one of the groups above, you do not have to have health insurance. However, you may need a Health Insurance so that you do not have to pay the insurance tax.

You can apply for some exemptions when you fill out your tax returns. You can apply for most other exemptions by filling out an exemption form. You can find the exemption forms here: https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/apply-for-exemption/

How will the Affordable Care Act Affect Me?

The ACA will affect you differently depending on how healthy you and your family are, and whether or not you currently have insurance. If your family is healthy, and you already have good health insurance, the ACA will probably not affect you very much.

In most states, you can keep your health insurance until 2017 even if it does not follow the ACA. However, some states will not let insurance plans continue if they do not meet the ACA standards. This does not apply to “grandfathered” plans. Grandfathered plans do not have to follow certain parts of the ACA. To find out more about grandfathered plans, click here. Your insurance company is required to let you know if your plan does not follow the ACA regulations.

Several parts of the law will affect children, including children and youth with special health care needs. To find out more about how the ACA will affect children and youth with special health care needs, click here.

To find more information about how the ACA could affect you, click through the boxes on the Home page.

What are Some Key Parts of the Law?

Some key parts of the law include:

Where Can I Find More Information?

This government site has lots of information about the Affordable Care Act: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/index.html

A nice summary of the Affordable Care Act: http://www.dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill04.pdf

A good summary of the Affordable Care Act created by the Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/summary-of-new-health-reform-law/

This animated video by the Kaiser Family Foundation summarizes the ACA: http://healthreform.kff.org/The-Animation.aspx

A nice animated video by the Kaiser Family Foundation about general insurance information:
http://kff.org/health-reform/video/health-insurance-explained-youtoons/