President Barack Obama enacted into law the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has comprehensive healthcare reform in March 2010. It was previously known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and often just called Obamacare. The law includes a list of health care policies focusing on extending health-insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The Affordable Healthcare Act expanded Medicaid eligibility created health insurance exchanges. It also prevents insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. It also allows children to remain on their parents’ insurance coverage until age 26.

Affordable Care Act Explained 

The Affordable Care Act was designed to lessen the cost of health insurance coverage for people who qualify. The law involves premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to lower costs to individuals and families with a lower-income.

Typically, premium tax credits lower your health insurance bill every month. Cost-sharing reductions reduce the out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, coinsurance, and copays, and coinsurance. Moreover, they also reduce your out-of-pocket maximum – the total amount you incur in a year for covered health expenses.

Preventive Care Affordable Healthcare ActAll ACA-compliant health insurance plans, including every plan that is sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace, should cover specific “essential health benefits” including:

  • Emergency services
  • Family planning
  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Breastfeeding
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription medications
  • Pediatric services
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services
  • Laboratory services
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care

The Affordable Healthcare Act requires most insurance plans to cover at no cost to policyholders a list of preventive services. Such services include checkups, immunizations, patient counseling, and several health screenings. The Act also allowed states that opted in to provide Medicaid coverage to a wider range of people.

Special Considerations

An outstanding part of the Preventive Care Affordable Healthcare Act was the individual mandate. That includes a provision needing all Americans to have healthcare coverage—either from an employer or through the ACA or another source—or face increasingly stringent tax penalties. That mandate served the double purpose of extending healthcare to uninsured Americans and ensuring an adequately broad pool of insured individuals to support health-insurance payouts to others in the same pool.

On January 20, 2017, in his first executive order after taking office, President Donald Trump indicated his intention to defund the Affordable Care Act. He said that executive agency heads should “delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Affordable Care Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State.” This order signaled the first phase of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

The intention of this Act signaled the first phase of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. Enacting the law once more was one of Trump’s central campaign promises aimed at decreasing the fiscal burden on the government. 

Attempts by the government in 2017 to repeal the law were not successful. However, the government considerably scaled back its outreach program to help Americans sign up for the ACA and reduce the enrollment period in half. 

 Requirement of the Affordable Care ActThe Act has seen some changes that have addressed some of the objections raised by opponents, while keeping the Marketplace open active for users. For instance, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Congress removed the penalty for not having health insurance in December 2017.

Starting with 2019 taxes, the individual mandate was decreased to zero dollars, basically removing the requirement that many Republicans had opposed. By 2018, the number of Americans covered under the ACA had dropped from 17.4 in 2015 to 13.8, according to a report from healthcare research organization KFF.

In March 2019, the Trump administration exposed it will seek to repeal the entire Affordable Healthcare Act 2020. The Justice Department in a letter to a federal appeals court indicated it agreed with a federal judge in Texas who declared the healthcare law illegal and added that it will support the judgment on appeal.

The case is expected at the Supreme Court with a coalition of 21 attorneys general defending the Affordable Care Act. In the meantime, House Democrats unveiled legislation to shore up the Act and expand coverage in March 2019. For more information, contact health insurance today!

References and Resources 

Preventive Care Affordable Healthcare Act

understanding the Affordable Healthcare Act