The Affordable Care Act was signed into law as a health care reform bill in March 2010. The purpose of the Act is to improve the United States health care system, control the cost of care, and expand coverage for health care. The ACA is a federal law that is carried out at the state level. It requires states to have a Health Insurance Exchange to provide a marketplace for individuals and businesses to purchase affordable health insurance coverage. Exchanges first opened for enrollment in October 2013. The exchanges make it easier to compare health plan options and determine eligibility for federal subsidies. In the state of Idaho we use Your Health Idaho as our exchange for purchasing insurance.

In 2014 the ACA began to require plans to offer a core package of items and services, known as Essential Health Benefits. Examples of these benefits are hospitalization, maternity care, newborn care, mental health and substance use services, as well as prescription drug coverage.

ACA OPEN ENROLLMENT

Open Enrollment is the period of the year that health coverage policies can be purchased.

Below is a list of important dates for Open Enrollment:
October 1, 2016 : Anonymous shopping begins. Plans may be viewed but not purchased.
November 1, 2016 : Open Enrollment begins, plans may be purchased for a 1/1/17 start date.
December 15, 2016 : Deadline to purchase a plan for a 1/1/17 start date.
January 15, 2016 : Deadline to purchase a plan for a 2/1/17 start date.
January 31, 2016 : Open Enrollment ends, deadline to purchase a plan for a 3/1/17 start date.

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