The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, helps many people obtain health insurance who were unable to or who could not afford to before the law was enacted. Under the new Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies are no longer allowed to raise premiums due to gender or pre-existing conditions, and are now required by law to end lifetime limits to coverage and cover preventative care at no cost to patients.
The aim of Obamacare is to reduce the number of Americans who do not have access to health care by making insurance more affordable and increasing its coverage. In order to do so, mandates and subsidies were put into place that require insurance companies to cover any applicant who meets a new minimum standard set forth by the law. Stipends are also offered to those who meet the requirements, to help cover part of the cost of independent plans.
In addition, exchanges were set up to force insurance companies to compete for business in an open market. Using the exchanges, individuals, families and small businesses looking for private health insurance plans can compare plans from different companies and choose those that suit them best. Now that customers have an avenue where they can directly see the differences in price and quality of coverage, the exchanges alone help to drive the cost of plans down.
The enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 was the most significant regulatory overhaul to the American health care system since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.