The Affordable Care Act

Health Insurance Coverage Impacting Millions of Americans

Signed into law March 23, 2010 by President Obama, the Affordable Care Act seeks to increase health insurance quality, reduce costs to both individuals and the government, and lower the number of uninsured Americans by expanding public and private coverage options. The ACA will bring numerous changes to the way health care is implemented in the United States, including:

  • Required health insurance for all people
  • Government assistance to pay coverage costs for many single people and working families
  • Expanded Medicaid programs in many states
  • A new option for purchasing health insurance, also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace

Built into the health care law are protections ensuring Americans cannot be denied coverage, receive coverage for 10 essential health benefits, and do not face any annual or lifetime limits on the amount insurers pay for essential health benefits.

Marketplace Insurance plans are divided into four categories, based on the monthly costs and costs when you receive care. The quality or amount of care are not impacted by the categories. These tiers impact premium costs you pay each month, as well as out-of-pocket costs you are responsible for paying for things like doctor visits, prescription drugs and hospital stays.

Plan Monthly Out-of-Pocket Best For
Bronze

people who don’t plan to use their health care services much

Silver

people who want to balance monthly and out-of-pocket costs

Gold

people who are looking for affordable monthly and out-of-pocket costs

Platinum

people who plan to get a lot of use from their health care services

Bronze Silver Gold Platinum
Monthly
Out-of-Pocket
Best For people who don’t plan to use their health care services much people who want to balance monthly and out-of-pocket costs people who are looking for both affordable monthly and out-of-pocket costs people who plan to get a lot of use from their health care services

Learn more about Marketplace Insurance plans at HealthCare.gov.

All small group and individual health plans must, beginning in 2014, offer a core set of essential health benefits. These include:

  • Preventive, wellness, and disease management services
  • Emergency care
  • Ambulatory services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn services
  • Pediatric services, including dental and vision
  • Prescription drugs
  • Laboratory services
  • Mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse services
  • Rehabilitation and habilitation services

Learn more about essential health benefits at HealthCare.gov.

  • Ready to Enroll?

    The Health Insurance Marketplace is now open.

    • For coverage beginning January 1, you must enroll by December 15

    • Applications after December 15 may be subject to a penalty — open enrollment closes March 31

    Enroll at Healthcare.gov
  • Apply in Your State

    Choose your state to apply for Affordable Care.