The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, colloquially known as "Obamacare," requires that all Americans obtain health insurance. It also adds regulations to the health care industry and makes a number of reforms.
The Affordable Care Act created a national marketplace through which the uninsured can shop for a health coverage plan. States have the option of setting up their own exchange, for example Covered California, but can otherwise direct their residents to the federal exchange.
Various subsidies are available for low-income individuals and families, and free coverage can be obtained if income is low enough. These policies vary somewhat in states that run their own exchanges. There are also fee waivers available for certain circumstances, such as periods of unemployment.
Americans were required to obtain coverage by the end of 2014. The fines for not having coverage in 2014 were 1 percent of total household income or $95 per person per household, whichever amount was higher. The fine was $47.50 for each child under 18 in the household that was not covered. This fine continues to increase each year with adjustments for inflation. The fine is withheld automatically from any future tax returns and cannot be collected any other way.