The health reform law, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (commonly referred to as the “Affordable Care Act” or “ACA”), represents the broadest reform to the United States’ health care system since the 1960s.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 after a two year process by Congress and the President. Subsequent challenges to the law were brought before the Supreme Court, the decisions in these cases also shaped the law into its current form.
Learn more: Background of the Law
The ACA includes many changes important to individuals with HIV, and to the practice of HIV medical care. Learn more by selecting one of the topics below:
Patient Protections for Insured
The law created new patient protections for those who have private insurance. Many of these are very important to people living with HIV, including prohibiting discrimination based pre-existing conditions, gender, or health status.
Learn more: Patient Protections
The law requires that starting in 2014, all citizens obtain health coverage or face tax penalties. If individuals are already offered health insurance coverage by an employer or other option, they do not have to alter their insurance. For those who do not have coverage, the ACA offers new options to obtain it.
Learn more: Individual Mandate
Essential Health Benefits
The law specified new “essential health benefits” that must be covered for all patients by their insurer.
Learn more: Essential Health Benefits
New Health Coverage Options:
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIPs)
The ACA required that every state make health insurance available to people who have had a problem getting insurance due to a pre-existing conditions, in the interim between enactment of the law and implementation of the Medicaid Expansion and availability of the state Insurance Exchanges in 2014.
Learn more: Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIPs)
State Insurance Exchanges
The ACA established new Insurance Exchanges in every state, to offer those who lack insurance coverage affordable individual and small group plans. The Exchanges are either state-run, federally-run, or run through a state-federal partnership. Insurers offer various plans at different price and benefit levels. Tax credits are available to low-income patients. Insurers are required to include Essential Community Providers, like HIV providers, in their networks.
Learn more: State Insurance Exchanges
Changes to Existing Government Payer Programs:
One of the biggest changes in the ACA is the available expansion of the Medicaid program in every state to many new beneficiaries and low-income individuals. This provision has not yet been implemented in every state.
Learn more: Health Reform & Medicaid
Starting in 2014 many of Ryan White patients will be eligible to obtain coverage through Medicaid or the state Insurance Exchanges. This shift brought about many changes for the Ryan White program in every state, as well as changes for grantees and beneficiaries.
Learn more: Health Reform & Ryan White
The law eliminates the so-called “donut hole” in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit incrementally by 2020 and created an important change for the Ryan White ADAP program.
Learn more: Medicare
Millions of Americans enrolled in new coverage during the first open enrollment period beginning in 2013. The second open enrollment period begins November 15, 2014.
The law also created opportunities to offer trained assistance for patients through the Patient Navigator Program, and other enrollment counselor opportunities.
Learn more: Patient Enrollment
Many of the provisions of the law were implemented at the state level. Each state had a different experience with establishing their state Insurance Exchange and Medicaid Expansion status. The ACA implementation is unique to each state.
Learn more: State Implementation
Each state has its own unique state Insurance Exchange, and state Medicaid program, and also Ryan White wrap-around. It is important for both patients and providers to know how the ACA is being implemented in your state.
Health Reform in My State
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is developing rapidly. We are keeping track of some of the latest key policy developments and issues in the news:
Learn more: Latest News
Visit our Learn More page to find additional resources and topics.
Our Advocacy Efforts:
To learn about AAHIVM’s advocacy efforts on behalf of our members during the law’s development, or since its passage, visit Our Advocacy Efforts page
To get more involved in the decisions being made about the law’s implementation, visit our Take Action on Health Reform page.