Understanding the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Marketplace can often be confusing and tricky, both to understand and navigate. We've prepared some information to help you understand them a bit better.

The ACA is a law that guarantees all Americans have minimum essential health care coverage. You can’t be denied ACA health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing health condition and you can’t be charged more for your plan because of it. 

It’s important to know what’s required under the ACA:

Annual open enrollment set by ACA, from November 1 to December 15, is your time to buy health insurance. As long as you shop for and purchase an individual health insurance plan during this time you won’t pay a penalty at tax time.

If you miss this window of time to purchase a plan, there are some exceptions called Qualifying Life Events that let you buy a plan during a special enrollment period. 

In some instances, you can get tax credits to help you pay for your health insurance. Depending on your family situation and annual income, you may qualify for a tax credit to help offset your health insurance costs. You can visit HealthCare.gov to see if you qualify for a tax credit before you buy your plan.

Most everyone needs to have health insurance

When you’re looking for health care coverage, check the health plans you’re considering to be sure it says it meets “ACA minimum essential coverage.” There are several ways to buy health insurance:

Through your employer

Directly from health insurance companies

Through health insurance marketplaces