Facts and information about the Affordable Care Act

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The federal healthcare law has many functions:

  • You can't be discriminated against. You can no longer be denied healthcare coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
  • You may receive financial support. There is help for people with lower incomes who, in the past, may not have been able to afford health insurance. The cost will depend on the package you choose and your current income level.
  • People who don't sign up for a healthcare plan will pay a fine when they file their income tax return.
  • You have the power to shop, compare and choose. Low-cost plans will cover everything from routine checkups, doctor visits and preventative care, to advance care including cancer screenings and prescription drugs. You pick the one that works for your budget and family.

When did the law take effect?

The biggest parts of the law began taking effect in 2013:

  • The healthcare marketplaces, which let you choose between a variety of different healthcare plans, opened October 1, 2013.
  • Actual insurance coverage through the marketplaces began January 1, 2014.
  • Financial assistance with insurance also began January 1, 2014.

More information

The primary websites that have more information are:

Or call (800) 318-2596 for information from the Department of Health and Human Services.