Affordable Care Act (ACA) Overview
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the Affordable Care Act or ACA, was signed into federal law in March 2010, as part of Healthcare Reform. The intent of the law is to decrease the number of uninsured Americans, improve the quality of care and enhance patient safety.
The law is being implemented in phases over the course of several years. Parts of the law are already in place like:
- Extended Coverage for Young Adults: children are allowed to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26 years old.
- Free Preventive Care: plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without any patient out-of-pocket costs.
- Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit: eligible small businesses may use tax credit to help provide insurance benefits to their employees.
- Elimination of Lifetime Limits: lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits are no longer allowed.
- Individual Requirement to Have Insurance: U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to have healthcare coverage.
Explore an interactive timeline, courtesy of Kaiser Family Foundation.
Beginning January 1, 2014, the ACA required all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Many low income individuals and families are now eligible for subsidies and tax credits to help cover the costs of purchasing health insurance.
As part of the law, an online shopping tool (the Health Insurance Marketplace, also called the Exchange) became available on October 1, 2013, to provide health insurance options and application assistance to those needing to purchase health insurance.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming and other health insurance companies now offer an apples-to-apples comparison of products and prices on the Marketplace website. The ACA places regulations on the benefit options that insurance companies may offer.
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"Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is committed to developing a Wyoming solution to the problem of cost and affordability of healthcare for Wyoming residents, employers and their employees.
Prior to the Healthcare Reform law, BCBSWY had already begun working to collaborate with doctors, nurses, hospitals and others on efforts to improve quality and rein in costs so that people get the best, most affordable care possible.
Since 1945, BCBSWY has offered products that represent the best value for Wyoming residents, and we will continue to do so for years to come."
President & CEO