What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? - The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to in an effort to expand access to affordable health care coverage, lower costs, improve quality, and care coordination. Under the health care law, people will have to either:  maintain health coverage that meets a minimum standard (called “minimum essential coverage”); qualify for an exemption; or pay a fee when filing taxes if they remain uninsured.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace? - Also known as the "exchange", it is an online location where one can shop the Individual Health Insurance plans that meet the requirements of the ACA to include minimum essential coverage, and are available in area in which you live.  You can also find out if you qualify for Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare.  Through the Marketplace, some people may be eligible for lower costs on health premiums and out-of-pocket costs based on their income.


Can I purchase Individual Health Insurance off of the Exchange? - Yes, but these plans would be subject to the private insurance company's underwriting guidelines and would not be eligible for premium subsidy or lowered out-of-pocket costs based on their income.


What counts as Minimum Essential Coverage? - Plans that meet this requirement include, but are not limited to: 

  • Employer-sponsored coverage, COBRA coverage, and retiree coverage
  • Coverage purchased in the individual market, including a qualified health plan offered by the Health Insurance Marketplace 
  • Medicare Part A coverage and Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Most Medicaid coverage
  • Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage
  • Most types of TRICARE coverage


Does Veterans Affairs Benefits (VA) meet the minimum essential coverage requirement? - If you are enrolled in the Veteran’s health care program, Civilian Health and Medical program (CHAMPVA), or Spina bifida health care program, you have coverage that meets the standards of the health care law and would not be subject to a penalty.


When do I begin declaring health care coverage to Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? - Starting in 2015, U.S. taxpayers will need to declare that they have health coverage on Line 61 on IRS Form 1040, Line 38 on the 1040A, as well as other applicable IRS income tax forms requiring taxpayers to self-declare whether they had health care coverage in 2014.


Is dental coverage included in my ACA Individual Health plan? - Under the health care law, Dental Insurance is treated differently for adults and children 18 and under.  Dental coverage for children is an essential health benefit where as this is not the case for adults. Insurers are not required to offer adult dental coverage.


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