The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, is a multi-faceted bill with numerous requirements for insurance companies, businesses and consumers. For example, insurance companies cannot discriminate against applicants with pre-existing health conditions. Businesses are required to provide health insurance to employees, and the law mandates that individuals not covered by an employer's health plan purchase individual policies, provided they can afford them, or face a fine.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2022, the Affordable Care Act will have resulted in health insurance policies being issued to 33 million Americans who would otherwise have been unable to secure coverage. The Affordable Care Act also provides financial assistance to poor and middle class families. Families whose income is less than 133 percent of the poverty line are eligible for Medicaid, while those making between 133 and 400 percent are eligible for tax credits. The law also requires insurers to spend between 80 and 85 percent of every premium dollar on medical claims. Any excess must be rebated back to the policyholders. The Affordable Care Act also prohibits the rescission of health care plans except in the case of fraud. Dependent care coverage is extended to age 26, and health care policies must cover preventative services and immunizations.