Health Care Reform: The Affordable Care Act

Find out how "Obamacare" affects you.

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Many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, often referred to as the health care reform law or Obamacare, take effect in January of 2014. The act bans discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, requires insurance companies to provide preventative care without copay or deductible, ends annual coverage limits and lifetime limits on essential benefits, extends health care coverage for adult children of covered parents until age 26, provides savings for seniors and persons with disabilities on Medicare, reduces and ultimately eliminates the Medicare Part D donut hole, and protects insured folks from abuses by insurance companies.

The act also aims to get as many people as possible covered by comprehensive insurance policies. Mid-size and large businesses must soon offer health insurance to their employees or pay a fine. Small businesses are eligible for tax credits for providing employees with health benefits. Individuals who aren't covered by group insurance through work are able to purchase health care plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Finally, in some states, Medicaid will be expanded to include individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level (currently, most states cover adults only if they have income under the poverty level or if they have children or are over 65).

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