Skip to content

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Health Reform Law Timeline

2012 Changes

Provision: Free Coverage for Contraceptives

Effective: Aug. 1, 2012

Women with new health plans can obtain contraceptives without paying any out-of-pocket costs. Religious employers, such as churches, are exempt from this requirement. The insurance companies providing health plans to employers with religious affiliations will be required to cover the cost of contraceptives, not the employer. The Obama administration extended the time until August of 2013 for religious institutions to comply with the law.

In addition, women will have access to free preventive services, including annual well-women visits, screening for gestational diabetes, testing for the HPV virus, HIV counseling and screening, and lactation counseling. This provision does not apply to grandfathered health plans.

Provision: Clearer Insurance Coverage Descriptions

Effective: Sept. 23, 2012

The law requires insurers to provide consumers with a uniform, plain-language summary of health plans’ benefits and coverage. The goal is to make it easier for people to understand the contents of each benefit package and to compare health insurance coverage options before they enroll. Included in the summaries will be examples of how much it would cost under each plan for common medical scenarios, such as managing type 2 diabetes and having a baby.

2013 Implementations

Provision: Expanded Coverage for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Effective: Oct. 1, 2013

CHIP programs provide low-cost health insurance for children living in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford to buy health insurance on their own. States will receive an additional two years of federal funding to maintain and expand coverage for millions of children not eligible for Medicaid.

2014 Implementations

Provision: Health Insurance Exchanges

Start Date: Jan. 1, 2014

The law calls for the creation of state-based health insurance exchanges, or online marketplaces selling health insurance. Exchanges will be created for individuals who don’t get insurance at work, as well as Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges where businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase insurance coverage. The exchanges will offer the full range of both private and public health insurance options.

Provision: Requirement to Have Health Insurance

Effective: Jan. 1, 2014

All U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty to help offset the cost of providing medical care to people who are uninsured.  

Provision: Premium Subsidies

Effective: Jan. 1, 2014

Families with incomes between 133% and 400% of the poverty level (up to $92,200 annually for a family of four in 2012) will receive financial assistance from the federal government to purchase insurance through the exchanges.

Provision: Preserving Choice

Effective: Jan. 1, 2014

Workers who cannot afford the insurance coverage offered by their employer can apply the dollar contribution their employer would have made toward insurance to help pay for a more affordable plan in the newly established health insurance exchanges.

Your Costs

See insurance premium
costs and financial aid.

Start Here

Health Insurance

Find a plan that's right
for you.

Start Here

Your State's Insurance Marketplace

Get informed about plans, benefits and costs.

From WebMD
Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices