As of 2015, federal health insurance laws prohibit discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and disallow annual coverage limits. They also ensure that consumers without workplace insurance have access to insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and they mandate U.S. citizens to carry health insurance.
Prior to 2014, private health insurance companies had the right to deny or not renew health insurance policies due to pre-existing conditions, according to HHS. Companies could also deny specific claims based on the condition being classified as pre-existing and raise insurance rates due to pre-existing conditions. In addition to the pre-existing condition prohibition that took effect in 2014, insurers were also barred from discriminating against policyholders for participating in clinical trials.
The Affordable Care Act established the Health Insurance Marketplace, which gives Americans without access to group-health plans the option to purchase health and dental insurance policies at competitive prices, as noted by HHS. Each state establishes an exchange through which residents can compare and purchase plans.
As of 2015, access to health care for the poor has also increased due to the Affordable Care Act, according to HHS. Eligibility for Medicaid has been expanded to include individuals and families with incomes less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government reimburses states for the costs of the Medicaid expansion.