The official name for “ObamaCare” is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(PPACA). It was signed into law to reform the health care industry by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 and upheld by the supreme court on June 28,2012.

ObamaCare’s goal is to give more Americans access to affordable, quality health insurance and to reduce the growth in health care spending in the U.S. It expands the affordability, quality, and availability of private and public health insurance through consumer protections, regulations, subsidies, taxes, insurance exchanges, and other reforms. It does not replace private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If you have health coverage you like and it meets requirements of the ACA, you can keep it.

ObamaCare offers a number of new benefits, rights and protections including provisions that let young adults stay on their plan until 26, stop insurance companies from dropping you when you are sick or if you make an honest mistake on your application, prevent against gender discrimination, stop insurance companies from making unjustified rate hikes, do away with life-time and annual limits, give you the right to a rapid appeal of insurance company decisions, expand coverage to tens of millions, subsidize health insurance costs, and require all insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Ten Essential Health Benefits including emergency care, hospitalization, prescription drugs,  maternity, and newborn care must be included on all non-grandfathered plans with no annual or lifetime dollar limits.

Free Preventive services including yearly check-ups, immunizations, counseling, and screenings must be included on all non-grandfathered plans at no out-of-pocket costs.

• Many of Obamacare’s numerous provisions have already been enacted. The rest of the program starts in 2013-2014 and continues to roll out until 2022.

The Affordable Care Act also includes new taxes.Most new taxes are on high-earners, large businesses, and the healthcare industry. However, there are some tax related provisions every American should be aware of: Tax Credits to subsidize costs for low-to-middle income Americans and small businesses starting 2014, an Employer Mandate for large employers to provide health insurance to full-time employees by 2015, an Individual Mandate for individuals and families obtain health insurance by 2014, and lastly new limits to medical deductions.

In exchange for the new rights and protections most Americans must obtain health coverage by 2014, get an exemption, or pay a fee.

• Wondering how health insurance works? You pay a premium for every month you have coverage. The higher the premium the less out-of-pocket expenses you are responsible for and the larger network of doctors and providers you can utilize.



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