Reviewed by Sarah Goodell on April 15, 2016

Sources

Lisa Zamosky, health care reform expert

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Video Transcript

Male Narrator: When you see a document this big, it doesn't exactly scream "Read me!" does it?

Male Narrator: That's why we're bringing the Affordable Care Act down to size for you.

Male Narrator: And the good news is, the basics aren't all that complicated.

Male Narrator: For starters, the Affordable Care Act is a law designed to give all Americans access to health insurance, and to give people who already have health insurance some new protection.

Male Narrator: Some changes have already taken place.

Male Narrator: For example, plans must cover the cost of preventive care that can help you stay healthy – like immunizations, mammograms, and colonoscopies.

Male Narrator: And young people can already stay on their parent's insurance policies until they're 26.

Male Narrator: But more big changes are set to kick in on January 1st, 2014.

Male Narrator: Starting then, you can no longer be denied insurance or charged more because you have a pre-existing condition such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or MS.

Male Narrator: And insurance plans can’t put lifetime limits, or caps, on the benefits they pay.

Male Narrator: Here's something else that happens on January 1st:

Male Narrator: Most Americans will be required to have health insurance. And most will pay a penalty if they don't.

Male Narrator: You'll be able to buy your coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, which will help you compare plans and choose the one that's right for you.

Male Narrator: Each state will have a marketplace, some run by the state and some run by the federal government.

Male Narrator: You'll be able to shop in person or online starting October 2013

Male Narrator: The Markeplace is also where to go to find out if you can get financial aid.

Male Narrator: More people will qualify for subsidies, or tax credits, to help pay for their insurance.

Male Narrator: Counselors called "navigators" will be available to help.

Male Narrator: It's all designed to simplify the process of getting insurance.

Male Narrator: So there you have it, the Affordable Care Act in a nutshell.

Male Narrator: And don't worry, WebMD will be here for you 24/7 to help you ge started… offering our Quick Start Guide – a personalized walkthrough of the four simple steps:

Male Narrator: Learn the Basics,

Male Narrator: Understand Costs,

Male Narrator: Know Your State Plan,

Male Narrator: And Get Ready to Enroll.

Male Narrator: If you want to learn more or follow the latest news, come visit us at WebMD.com/My Healthcare.