Key features of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, include prohibiting denial of coverage to children based on previous conditions and extending coverage for young adults. The act also reduces paperwork, expands the Medicaid program and requires most people to buy health insurance.
President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, and its major provisions took effect in the ensuing months. The prohibition on denying coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions was one of the first elements of the law implemented in 2010. In that same year, the act gave children and young adults the option to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until age of 26, with the exception that young adults are required to use employer-provided insurance if available.
In 2012, provisions of Obamacare designed to reduce paperwork began to take effect, with the goal of shifting most billing and patient records into electronic format. In January of 2014, one of the law's most controversial features, known as the insurance mandate, took effect. The mandate requires that most people who are eligible for health insurance purchase it, with the goal of limiting the cost of providing health care for uninsured citizens.