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The Affordable Care Act

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The Affordable Care Act
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Updated: 03/05/2012

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If you’ve heard any politician talk in the last several months, you’ve probably at least heard the affordable care act mentioned. It’s going to be one of the biggest talking points of the next several years, and for good reason. It includes provisions that not only have everyone required to purchase health insurance by 2014, but also ones that make it more affordable and change the way doctors do business. The overall goal is to make certain that everyone in the U.S. can afford to be covered by a solid health insurance policy, and almost everyone will benefit in some way. While there may still be increases in premiums down the road, more Americans will have access to care than ever before. Here are the biggest parts of the law that may affect you:

People under the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ health plans.

Small businesses with less than 25 employees may get help paying for health insurance.

Kids with preexisting conditions, and eventually adults, can no longer be denied coverage.

Insurance companies can no longer have lifetime maximum amounts built into their policies. Eventually, they won’t be able to have annual maximums either.

Anyone who falls within the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” can qualify for a discount on prescription drugs. Medicare patients can also get free preventative services.

Those who don’t have health insurance will buy it through state-created marketplaces, called exchanges. These will help hold down the cost of insurance because people will be able to look at a variety of plans, offering the same coverage, and compare costs on their own.

While the timeline of provisions covered in this act ranges from right now all the way until 2018, if litigation doesn’t affect the passage of this law, the chances are good that it will change the way you look at healthcare in some way or another.