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When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010, it had a few immediate effects on consumers. It allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, outlawed lifetime limits on what insurance will cover, reduced the cost of drugs for people on Medicare and expanded access to free preventive care.

The next important changes will take place in 2014. Everyone will be required to have health insurance, or face paying a tax penalty that starts at $95 per individual, $285 per family or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. Under the law, health plans must offer coverage for everyone, even those with pre-existing conditions, and cannot charge more based on gender.

By Oct. 1, 2013 every state will have an insurance exchange, an organized marketplace where individuals and small-business owners can buy insurance. For people who are worried about affording insurance, subsidies will be available for households whose income falls within 100 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty line. The law will also expand Medicaid, covering up to 16 million more low-income Americans.

Most Recent Headlines:

Health insurance access is greatly improving among all racial groups after ACA implementation: report
Study: MA reform had no effect on avoidable hospitalizations and racial disparities
House passes SGR repeal with overwhelming majority
Physicians aren’t being flooded with new or sick patients under health care reform: report
CMS unveils the next phase for accountable care organizations
King v. Burwell: Interpreting five words in the ACA
Inside the Beltway: The 114th Congress and healthcare policy
White House budget raises concerns for patient access to imaging
Mass. health care cost transparency law underperforming
Discussing the $8 billion for N.Y. Medicaid reform
Mass. health care reform causes more ED use
Obamacare state exchanges see low enrollment
Rocky health site rollout isn't enough to deter enrollees — yet
Obamacare bridges gap between Medicaid and low-cost plans
Convenience clinic boom casts a wider net
Will the government repeal the medical device tax?
Samsung likely to be a big player in diagnostic imaging
More information surfaces about premiums under ACA
Is it ever right to order a CT scan before an examination?
The ACA's free cancer screenings: What's the catch?
Health reform's rocky road ahead
Does reform give health systems enough reason to lower costs?
Will Obamacare be implemented?
Health information exchanges need to align with financial incentives, says ONC
Early ACO results: First steps prove challenging
Why the ACO model is working for Montefiore Medical Center
What you may have missed at AHRA 2013
ACA spurs hospitals and health centers to work together
Health exchange premiums unlikely to cause "rate shock"
Who should solve the doctor shortage?
Are health information exchanges going bankrupt?
Obamacare exchanges may not be ready by October
Spotlight: RSNA past president on health care reform

Latest Comments

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