How the Affordable Care Act May Affect You

No matter who you are, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has likely affected you in some way. Here are some things to consider, based on whether you have insurance and where that insurance comes from.

I do not have insurance
Many of the rules implemented for 2014 and beyond, as required by the ACA, were created to help Americans who do not have health insurance today.

  • You can no longer be denied coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition.
  • You also cannot be charged more because of a pre-existing medical condition.
  • As of 2014, plans sold to individuals now have to meet additional new ACA requirements. These include covering some core benefits called "essential health benefits".
  • Public exchanges – also called marketplaces – are available in every state to help residents shop for health insurance.
  • When you shop on the exchange, you may be eligible for financial help (through premium tax credits and/or cost-sharing reductions) to help make the plan more affordable.
  • You also can purchase a new plan through a broker, through an online website, or directly from a health insurance carrier.
  • Individual plans have an open enrollment period, no matter where you buy your plan.
  • Open enrollment for 2015 coverage began November 15, 2014 and is set to end on February 15, 2015.
  • If you experience certain life events, you could qualify for a special enrollment period between open enrollment periods.
  • As of 2014, most Americans are required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. You can learn more about this rule – called the individual mandate – and what the penalties are.

Exploring all of your options will help you find the right plan for you and your family.