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Affordable Care Act (ACA): Affordable Care Act

Resources associated with the Affordable Care Act

Thank You

Large portions of this guide were provided by the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Library

Internet Resources

About ACA

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a law that puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will be implemented in stages over a multi-year period. The purpose of the law is to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans.  It will allow individuals, families, and small businesses to choose insurance coverage in an open, competitive insurance market. The Act also requires insurance companies to provide more coverage, reduce costs, and provide healthcare to those individuals previously disqualified.

The official websites for the Affordable Care Act and Covered California are now available.

ACA Breakdown


  • Ends Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children: Health plans can no longer limit or deny benefits to children under 19 due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Keeps Young Adults Covered: If you are under 26, you may be eligible to be covered under your parent’s health plan.
  • Ends Arbitrary Withdrawals of Insurance Coverage: Insurers can no longer cancel your coverage just because you made an honest mistake.
  • Guarantees Your Right to Appeal: You now have the right to ask that your plan reconsider its denial of payment.


  • Ends Lifetime Limits on Coverage: Most benefits are banned from having a lifetime limit on coverage for all new health insurance plans.
  • Reviews Premium Increases: Insurance companies must now publicly justify any unreasonable rate hikes.
  • Helps You Get the Most from Your Premium Dollars: Your premium dollars must be spent primarily on health care – not administrative costs.


  • Covers Preventive Care at No Cost to You: You may be eligible for recommended preventive health services without a copayment.
  • Protects Your Choice of Doctors: Choose the primary care doctor you want from your plan’s network.
  • Removes Insurance Company Barriers to Emergency Services: You can seek emergency care at a hospital outside 

ACA Timeline

Timeline of the Affordable Care Act

September 17, 2009 -Introduced in the House as the "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009" (H.R. 3590) by Charles Rangel (D–NY)

October 8, 2009 - Passed in the House

December 24, 2009 -Passed in the Senate as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" with amendment

March 21, 2010- House agreed to Senate amendment

March 23, 2010 - Signed into law by President Barack Obama

September 23, 2010 -Patient's Bill of Rights goes into effect

January 1, 2011 -  People with Medicare receive free key preventive services and 50% discount on brand-name drugs

August 1, 2012 Expanded Access to Preventive Services for Women

October 1, 2012 - Linking Payment to Quality Outcomes, Reducing Paperwork and Administrative Costs

October 1, 2013 - Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace begins

Apply Now

Need health coverage? The Health Insurance Marketplace is open! Apply Now

Need Assistance? has customer service representatives available 24/7 by calling 1-800-318-2596* 
(TTY: 1-855-889-4325) 

 Find help in your area at

Young Adults


If the plan covers children, a child can remain on their parent's health insurance until they are 26.

Enrollment Dates

Open Enrollment for 2018

November 1, 2017 -  January 31, 2018; coverage begins January 1, 2018

Special Enrollments

Qualified life changes like marriage, divorce, birth, death, job loss, or loss of COBRA

Open Enrollment will be available every year