Highlights of the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, Section by Section

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has provided a comprehensive overview of each part of the ACA as well as links to learn more.

Read the Law

10 Essential benefits in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act

All new plans need to provide at least the following 10 benefit:

  1. Ambulatory patient services
  2. Emergency services
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Rehabilitative and habilitation servies and devices
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

New protections were added to health insurance plans:

  1. Insurers cannot cancel your policy if you get sick or make an honest mistake on the application
  2. The appeal process is faster and if it’s an urgent case, you get a response in 72 hours
  3. There is no longer a yearly dollar limit on coverage for your health care

New health insurance plans include expanded benefits:

  1. You can receive free preventive care (yearly exams, some vaccines and other related services) at no cost with new plans under the ACA
  2. All health inusurance plans need to use the same forms for their Summary of Benefits.
  3. Children can stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26
  4. Starting in January 2014, insurers cannot deny or charge people more with pre-existing conditions for insurance

* Above material courtesy of Smart Choice Health Insurance curriculum.

Health Insurance Marketplace Timeline

The Open Enrollment period for 2016 coverage is November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016.

If you haven’t enrolled in coverage by then, you generally can’t buy Marketplace health coverage for 2016 until the next Open Enrollment period for coverage the following year.

If you’re enrolled in a 2015 Marketplace plan, your benefit year ends December 31, 2015. To continue health coverage in 2016, you can renew your current health plan or choose a new health plan through the Marketplace during the 2016 Open Enrollment period.

If you don’t have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a fee. The fee in 2015 is higher than it was in 2014 — 2% of your income or $325 per adult/$162.50 per child, whichever is more.

ACA Tax Provisions

The Internal Revenue Service has a comprehensive list of tax provisions as well as other information for individuals and families, employers and other organizations.

Go to IRS Tax Provisions page

From MSU Extension News

Small employer health insurance tax credit for farmers and businesses (by Adam J. Kantrovich, Aug. 16, 2013)