Understanding the Affordable Care Act
Obamacare Explained
Key FAQs

What is Obamacare?
Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Health Care Act) is a new national health care plan. The official mission of the plan is provide more Americans with access to affordable health care, improve the quality of health care, regulate the health insurance industry and reduce spending in health care.

What does it mean to me?
Most Americans will have to have health insurance by January 1st, 2014 or pay a fee on their taxes. Many will be eligible for subsidized health insurance that costs anywhere from 0% - 9.5% of their income. This subsidized insurance can be purchased through something new called the Health Insurance Marketplace.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
Starting on October 1, the marketplace for government health insurance plans will open. But the marketplace isn't just for the uninsured. If you have an employee-provided health insurance plan, you can still check out the marketplace. You may qualify for a federally run plan depending on your income and other factors. Arizona's Health Insurance Marketplace will be federally run. Other states are creating state-based plans. 

Where can I find Health Insurance Market plans?
If you live in California, you'll use HealthCare.gov, to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll. Specific plans and prices will be available on October 1, 2013, when Marketplace open enrollment begins. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2014. 

What about people who already have insurance? 
The new law requires nearly everyone to have health insurance by early 2014 or face a penalty.

What will I pay for Obamacare in 2014?
Millions of Americans won't have to pay full price for their Obamacare health insurance next year.  The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 48% of Americans who buy individual insurance today would be eligible for subsidies. They would receive an average of $5,548, which would cover 66% of the price. Here's how you qualify: Anyone earning up to 400% of the poverty line will be eligible for a subsidy, which is up to $45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four. The lower your income, the larger your subsidy. 

Will the entire health-care system change? 
Likely yes, but over time. Most say you should expect more coordination as networks form between your doctors, clinics and hospitals.