More than a decade after its enactment, tens of millions of people nationwide rely on coverage options created through the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). The law has survived multiple court challeges at the U.S. Supreme Court and repeated attempts by Republicans in Congress to repeal it. Subsequent legislation has scaled back some aspects of the law and expanded others, including by the COVID-19 relief bill, the American Response Plan Act of 2021. This page highlights relevant analysis about the ACA and proposed and enacted changes to it..

For information about ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment, including fact sheets and 300+ FAQs, visit our collection of resources on Understanding Health Insurance.

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Patient Cost-Sharing in Marketplace Plans, 2016

This brief and accompanying slides examine cost sharing – deductibles, copayments and coinsurance – in 2016 insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federally-facilitated marketplaces. The analysis looks at out-of-pocket limits, as well as cost sharing for hospital stays, physician visits, emergency room visits, and prescription drugs, for plans across the metal levels (platinum, gold, silver and bronze).

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Women’s Health Issues Journal: Women, Private Health Insurance, and the Affordable Care Act

In this issue of the Women’s Health Issues journal, Alina Salganicoff and Laurie Sobel discuss how the private insurance reforms and expansions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have affected access to coverage for women and where gaps remain.

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Challenges to Forecasting Obamacare Enrollment for 2015

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explains why 2015 enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces is very hard to predict.

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Estimating Federal Payments and Eligibility for Basic Health Programs: An Illustrative Example

In some states, policymakers and stakeholders are considering adoption of the Basic Health Program (BHP) option permitted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Federal regulations allow BHP implementation beginning in 2015. Through BHP, consumers with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) who would otherwise qualify for subsidized qualified health plans (QHPs) offered in health insurance marketplaces instead are offered state-contracting standard health plans that provide coverage no less generous and affordable than what have been provided in the marketplace. To operate BHPs, states receive federal funding equal to 95 percent of the premium tax credits (PTCs) and cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) that BHP enrollees would have received if they had been covered through QHPs. This paper seeks to inform state-level analysts about the characteristics of BHP-eligible people in their state and how to use that information to estimate the approximate federal BHP payment amount per average BHP-eligible resident.

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Key Findings on Medicaid Managed Care: Highlights from the Medicaid Managed Care Market Tracker

This report highlights 10 key findings on the Medicaid managed care market, based on analysis of data included in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicaid Managed Care Market Tracker. The findings provide a partial profile of the Medicaid MCO market nationally and by state. They also illuminate the involvement of large, multi-state health insurance companies in the Medicaid market and the participation of these firms in other markets as well, including the managed long-term services and supports market, the new ACA marketplaces, and the Medicare Advantage market. Finally, these selected highlights serve to illustrate the array of ways the Tracker can be used to understand more about the Medicaid managed care market and its place in the broader market.

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Assessing the Performance of the U.S. Health System

Health spending growth has consistently outpaced U.S. economic growth and is higher than medical spending in other wealthy countries. Despite spending more, the United States doesn’t have better health outcome in terms of life expectancy, mortality rates and other measures. This brief provides an overview of trends in health costs and the performance of the U.S. health system, including comparisons to countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The brief charts growth in the nation’s per capita health spending along with the recent slowdown, touching on the roles of expanded Medicaid eligibility, increases in Medicare beneficiaries and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, it discusses the health system’s effectiveness and capacity to provide services, including the accessibility and affordability of care.

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Medical Debt Among Insured Consumers: The Role of Cost Sharing, Transparency, and Consumer Assistance

This policy insight examines medical debt among insured consumers, exploring how high cost sharing in health insurance plans can contribute, and explaining how greater transparency could help consumers avoid some financial pitfalls. It also provides an update on provisions of the Affordable Care Act meant to increase health plan transparency and bolster consumer assistance.

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The Media’s Challenge When the ACA Cools As a Political Story

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses how Obamacare has cooled as a political issue and the implications for media coverage of the health law.

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The ACA Primary Care Increase: State Plans for SFY 2015

This perspective provides additional information on state plans related to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) primary care rate increase after the 100% federal financing ends December 31, 2014. The data in this report were collected as part of KCMU’s Annual Medicaid Budget Survey, conducted by Health Management Associates with the support of the National Association of Medicaid Directors,

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The ACA’s Basic Health Program Option: Federal Requirements and State Trade-Offs

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives states the option to implement a Basic Health Program (BHP) that covers low-income residents through state-contracting plans outside the health insurance marketplace, rather than qualified health plans (QHPs). In March 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final regulations on the requirements for a BHP and the methodology for calculating federal payments to states. States can choose to implement BHP beginning in 2015. This report summarizes these federal policies, including the requirements for BHP as well as the methodology for determining federal BHP payments. It then analyzes the key trade-offs facing states as they decide whether and, if so, how to implement BHP, with a particular focus on the impact of BHP on state budgets and the size, stability, and risk level of state marketplaces.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.