Frequently Asked Questions about Health Care Reform

If you have questions about health care reform, you are not alone. As a non-partisan, patient advocacy organization, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has sought to provide our volunteers with the facts they need to stay informed about the new law and what it means to them.

For further detail on the topics discussed below, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I find out what options for health care coverage are available in my state?

A. Health Insurance Marketplaces are now open in every state that make it easier to shop for, apply and enroll in insurance coverage. Through your state’s Marketplace, you can see all of your choices in one place, know upfront what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be and make apples-to-apples comparisons of the different private health insurance plans available to you before you decide to enroll. The Marketplace also determines whether you qualify for financial assistance to help make health insurance premiums more affordable. You can access your state’s Marketplace online at www.healthcare.gov or by phone, toll-free, at 1-800-318-2596. 

A: Most of the provisions of the health care law have now taken effect. Some important protections and changes took effect in 2010: For example, private health plans are no longer allowed to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, to drop people from their coverage when they get sick, or impose lifetime caps on care. Also, the smallest employers are now eligible for tax credits to help make it affordable to offer coverage to their employees, more than 130,000 Americans who were uninsured due to a pre-existing condition gained access to insurance through Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans, and Medicare beneficiaries impacted by the prescription drug “doughnut hole” are getting discounts on their medications. Beginning October 1, 2013, state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces opened in every state to provide affordable coverage to those who are currently uninsured. And on January 1, 2014, the remaining insurance reforms, such as the ban on private insurance companies denying coverage or charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, took effect.