The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 is a federal law that went into full effect in 2014. It’s made it easier and more affordable for many Americans to get health insurance. It also expanded the services and procedures that health plans need to cover. For many people, the ACA means that their health plan provides free preventive care, as well as many other important benefits. If you need to buy individual or family coverage, you can shop and compare plans through a centralized “Health Insurance Exchange.”
We’ve put together the basics that you need to know about how the law affects your coverage, your health plan options and your costs.
What Coverage Do I Need to Have?
Under the ACA, everyone must be enrolled in a health plan that offers “minimum essential coverage” or pay a penalty. Health coverage provided by your employer, an individual plan that you buy and public insurance like Medicaid all count as minimum essential coverage. If you can’t afford coverage, you may be eligible for financial help.
Why is there a penalty for not having insurance?
When you are uninsured and cannot pay for healthcare services, others indirectly have to pay the bill. When more people—both sick and healthy—are enrolled in insurance, and pay their premium amount, there are more funds available to pay for healthcare when enrollees become sick. The ACA is intended to encourage as many people as possible to have coverage in order to spread the risk among a large group and minimize costs for everyone.
How much is the penalty for 2017?
If you don’t have coverage in 2017, you’ll have to pay a penalty that is the higher of the following amounts:
- 2.5 percent of your yearly household income, or
- $695.00 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18 years of
And, in addition to the penalty, you’ll still have to pay all of your own medical costs.
You can see examples of minimum essential coverage and learn more about the penalty fee and maximum penalties.