Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

How to get started if you're looking for an ACA plan

There’s a lot of talk about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Marketplace. But when it comes to figuring out how it all works and what it means, it can be confusing. Here are some details to help you get started. 

There are several ways to buy health insurance

You may get your health insurance coverage from:

  • Your employer
  • Health insurance companies
  • Health Insurance Marketplaces 

If you’re looking for an ACA plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace or have questions, call 800-980-5213.

Coverage for pre-existing conditions

Under current law, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a “pre-existing condition” — that is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts. These rules went into effect for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. 

Open enrollment is your time to buy health insurance

Open enrollment dates for 2020 are November 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019. It's the time of year when you can shop for individual health insurance and purchase a plan. You can call 800-980-5213 or go to the Health Care Marketplace at Healthcare.gov to explore your ACA options.

How tax credits may help with health insurance costs

Depending on your family situation and annual income, you may be able to get a tax credit to help offset your health insurance costs. You can visit Healthcare.gov to see if you qualify for a tax credit before you start buying your plan.

2020 open enrollment dates for ACA plans are November 1 to December 15, 2019

If you miss this window of time to purchase an ACA plan, there are some exceptions called qualifying life events that let you buy a plan during a Special Enrollment Period. 

View more important open enrollment dates

Looking for ACA tax forms?

With the ACA, there are three kinds of health care tax forms you may need in order to qualify for a health care tax credit. Here’s a little about each one:

Form 1095-A is the Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. You'll need the 1095-A form if you bought your health plan on the Marketplace.

Form 1095-B is a form from your health insurance company. It proves that you and your family have a plan that meets ACA requirements. You’ll need this if you did not buy your health plan on the Marketplace.

Form 1095-C is a form that comes from your employer. It’s the form you’ll need if you get your health plan through your employer.

Learn more about ACA tax forms from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).