Health Information

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act is the final, amended version of the new health care legislation.

This Act puts control of health care in the hands of individuals, families, and small business owners, and accomplishes the following:

  • Reduces premium costs for many working families and small businesses through tax relief
  • Requires preventive care to be fully covered without out-of-pocket expenses
  • Sets a maximum out-of-pocket expense
  • Bans insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions
  • Enhances community-based care for Americans with disabilities
  • Provides opportunities for States to extend home care services to people with long-term care needs 
Find more information about the Affordable Care Act, or read the full legislation

Health Insurance Terminology 

Premium  The amount you pay to an insurance company for a health insurance policy - this is usually a monthly payment. 

Deductible – The amount of money you must pay for medical services before your insurance begins paying.

Co-Insurance – The percentage of your medical costs that you are required to pay after your deductible has been paid. There is occasionally a maximum out-of-pocket amount that limits the amount of co-insurance you are required to pay.

Pre-Existing Condition  A medical condition experienced before the start date of your insurance policy. 

Exclusion – A medical condition that the insurance policy does not cover. 

Co-Payment  The amount that you are required to pay out-of-pocket, up front for a service or medication. 

How much does health insurance cost? 

The cost of a health insurance varies from plan to plan. Below are some good questions for you to ask to make sure you are choosing the best policy for you and your family:

  • What benefits are offered?
  • How much will I pay before insurance coverage begins? (How much is the deductible?)
  • What will I pay for services after I pay the deductible?
  • In total, how much will I have to pay if one of my family members or I become ill? (What is the out-of-pocket maximum?) 
Purchasing insurance plans with the lowest premium or with a very high out-of-pocket maximum can result in many services and treatments being uncovered by the plan.

Updated: July 1, 2014