Affordable Care Act

Seeking information about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as the Health Reform Law?  While the facts are available through the official U.S. Government site,, other resources provide analyses of the law and its impact on Virginia and Virginians:

Who is required to purchase insurance?  The ACA includes an individual mandate that requires most uninsured people to purchase insurance with the help of subsidies and tax credits.  There are affordability exemptions to this requirement, and the Kaiser Family Foundation has created an easy to understand chart that explains the requirement, exemptions and penalties.

Health Exchanges/Marketplace:  This brief video on the Marketplace gives an informative overview of how health exchanges are supposed to function, as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Young Invincible Toolkit: Specifically for young adults, their parents and employers: The “Young Invincible Toolkit” is designed to help young adults figure out how to get insurance and health care. The Affordable Care Act allows most children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. The toolkit describes this protection and other ways to obtain insurance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) provides resources on health reform, including both a brief summary of coverage provisions and an in-depth, comprehensive summary of the health reform act. Other KFF health reform resources include a timeline of changes,  an explanation of health insurance subsidies, and a discussion of how the law expands coverage.

The U.S. Secretary of Health provides a detailed explanation of the transitional Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plan.

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy has developed What the New Health Care Law Means for Virginians using demographic data on Virginia’s uninsured provided through VHCF’s Profile of the Uninsured. Among the report’s findings are that the law:

  • Prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for 1.8 million Virginia children starting in 2010.
  • Allows 768,778 young adult Virginians to stay on their parents’ insurance plans
  • Enables 1.2 million Virginians under age 30 to have access to less costly catastrophic-only health insurance plans, when health insurance exchanges are operational in 2014.
  • If Virginia goes forward with the Medicaid expansion, it will, by 2019, enroll about 245,840 previously uninsured Virginians in the state’s Medicaid program.

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis offers a number of studies on the impact of health reform in Virginia.  They include:

  • What are Health Insurance Exchanges?
  • Medicaid Expansion in Virginia under the New Health Care Law
  • Health Reform: Dependent Coverage
  • Care for the Commonwealth: The Impact of Health Insurance Reform on Virginia

This timetable from WebMD also helps people understand what aspects of the Affordable go into effect when, including those that are already implemented (e.g. allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26).