Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA)



Three years ago, on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA, became federal law. It initiated the most significant changes in the U.S. health care system since the establishment of Medicare in 1965.

Some of those impacts include:

Coverage and its availability — no one can be turned down for coverage because of a medical condition, and all Americans should be eligible for some form of coverage, whether through their employer, Medicare, Medi-Cal, or the new statewide health insurance marketplace — Covered California.

Choice and the information to make good choices — with statewide marketplaces like Covered California and provisions such as the requirement for plain, easy-to-understand language in a Summary of Benefits & Coverage, Ventura County residents will have more information and more options to choose what is best for them.

Performance — through incentive programs and payment method changes, care providers will be rewarded for their performance and efficiency, encouraging more providers to focus on quality improvement and innovation.

This Law includes stronger consumer protections.  No longer can insurance companies drop your health coverage when you get sick or place dollar limits on insurance benefits.  Many of these protections are in place now while others will phase in over the next several years.  Those prohibitions and new provisions include:

  • Stops insurance companies from dropping coverage: Health insurance companies cannot drop your health coverage if you get sick or if you require medical care.
  • Bans lifetime limits: Health plans can no longer place lifetime dollar limits on the benefits you receive.
  • Bans annual limits: By 2014 new health plans can no longer put annual dollar limits on your insurance benefits.
  • Ends denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions: Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied insurance.  In 2014, no one can be denied because of a pre-existing condition.
  • Adds free preventive care: Health insurance plans must cover more preventive services at no additional cost to you.
  • Extends coverage for young adults: Parents can keep their children covered under their health insurance until they reach age 26.
  • Delineates a set of Essential Health Benefits that insurance plans must offer.

For additional information call 1-530-527-1911 and ask for 'Covered California'.

To apply online 'click here'.