The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or "Obamacare" eliminates the ability of insurance companies to discriminate against subscribers based on their medical histories and provides subsidies to millions of taxpayers to reduce their insurance costs. In exchange, it mandates that everyone must purchase insurance or pay a fine. PPACA's ultimate goal is to control the increasing costs of health care in the United States.
Under PPACA, everyone must be covered by insurance. While the mandate has proven a somewhat unpopular part of the program, it is designed to ensure that people do not wait to sign up for insurance until they are sick. Insurance groups require people to pay into them while they're healthy to cover the costs when they fall ill. By sharing the cost among the healthy and sick in the group, no one is forced to pay exorbitant amounts of money for health care.
If individuals do not have access to a reasonably priced employer-supplied plan or one that provides a minimum level of care prescribed by the Affordable Care Act, they can visit the health care exchanges, a state-by-state listing of available insurance plans for purchase. In addition, the exchange may provide a subsidy to purchase one of these plans based on the subscriber's income.