The Affordable Care Act

Health insurance CO-OPs were established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provided low-interest loans to help get them off the ground. Health insurance CO-OPs are run by private citizens and organizations, and their goal is to provide health insurance on the newly-created health insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges”, which began enrolling customers in October 2013. The 2016 open enrollment season will began on November 1, 2015 and ends on January 31, 2016.

The Affordable Care Act is landmark legislation that contains significant reforms to how people access health care. Passed in 2010, many of the laws reforms take effect on a rolling basis, and the law’s major piece – the establishment of state-based health insurance marketplaces – opening in October of 2013 with exchange plans effective on January 1, 2014. In addition to the creation of health insurance CO-OPs, the legislation establishes many new benefits for individuals, families, and small businesses, and provides financial assistance for Americans who have previously had trouble accessing affordable health care.

The Affordable Care Act has been one of the most debated and discussed bills in our nation’s history, and there is understandably a great deal of confusion about what it will mean for the average American. Below are some links that provide some basic information about what the law means for you, and how you are able to access its benefits.  Our member CO-OPs are also happy to serve as an informational resource should you have any questions about the Affordable Care Acts many benefits and reforms.

Kaiser Family Foundation explains the Affordable Care Act in cartoon form

For information about the CO-OP program, please visit CMS’s CO-OP page: http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Insurance-Programs/Consumer-Operated-and-Oriented-Plan-Program.html

For information about the new exchanges/marketplaces and how they will work for consumers, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov.

For general information about the Affordable Care Act, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law

Enroll America is an organization dedicated to helping Americans enroll in their state-based health insurance marketplaces. Please visit its website at http://www.enrollamerica.org for more information.

The Affordable Care Act contains many benefits for small businesses. To find out how health care reform can help your business and employees, please visit the Small Business Administration’s health care web page: http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

In addition, many organizations and foundations have published outside analysis of the Affordable Care Act and created one-stop shops for information about health reform and what it means for you.

AARP: http://www.aarp.org/health/health-care-reform/health_reform_factsheets

The Kaiser Family Foundation: http://healthreform.kff.org

Families USA: http://www.familiesusa.org/health-reform-central/

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners: http://www.naic.org/index_health_reform_faq.htm

The Commonwealth Fund: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Health-Reform/Health-Reform-Resource.aspx

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: http://www.rwjf.org/en/topics/search-topics/A/affordable-care-act-aca.html