The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "Obamacare," was signed into law in 2010. The ACA requires individuals who don't receive health insurance benefits through their employers to buy it or pay a penalty. The law also puts certain limits on what insurers may or may not do with respect to eligibility and coverage.
Here are the main parts of the ACA and how it effects patients/consumers:
If you already have insurance coverage, whether it's Medicare, Medicaid, a private insurance plan, or through your employer—you may keep your current plan. If you want to change insurance, you can shop in the "marketplace", however you will not be eligible for subsidies and your employer will not be penalized if you voluntarily leave your work-based health insurance plan.
The following ACA provisions will impact existing plans that are purchased after March 23, 2010:
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a resource where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn about their health coverage options; compare health insurance plans based on costs, benefits, and other important features; choose a plan; and enroll in coverage.
The Marketplace also provides information on programs that help people with low to moderate income and resources pay for coverage. This includes ways to save on the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs of coverage available through the Marketplace, and information about other programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). New York's marketplace is called "New York State of Health" and can be found here: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/.