This is the "ACA Quick Facts" page of the "Affordable Care Act" guide.
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Affordable Care Act  

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

ACA Quick Facts Print Page



WA State College Student FAQ's (Printable PDF)

Individuals and families Factsheet (Printable PDF)


What are the goals of the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act attempts to:

  • Provide universal access to healthcare for Americans

  • Control the rising costs of healthcare

  • Regulate the private insurance industry through things like state-based private exchanges – an online marketplace that brings together state-approved insurance plans from multiple companies so consumers can shop for individual insurance plans

  • Improve the quality of healthcare

  • Make healthcare choices more consumer friendly and easier to understand.





What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as "Obamacare" is the nation’s health reform law enacted in March 2010.

The law consists of two pieces of legislation: the  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted on March 23, 2010, and the  Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act(HCERA), enacted on March 30, 2010. Jointly they are referred to as the Affordable Care Act or ACA.  

Source:American Public Health Association


When can I apply?

  • You can apply starting October 1, 2013.
  • Coverage will be effective January 1, 2014.
  • Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.


Who can apply?


How do I apply?

In Washington State, everyone who still needs to get health insurance can use a new web portal:
   Washington Healthplanfinder — our state’s version of an “exchange” or “marketplace.” On October 1, 2013, it will be open for Washingtonians to shop for and enroll in quality, affordable health care plans.
It’s also where, if you are a Washington citizen with low income, you can apply for Medicaid. Or, you can see if you qualify for subsidized health care plans. If so, your new coverage under the Affordable Care Act will begin on January 1, 2014.

What happens if someone does not have health insurance in 2014?

If someone who can afford health insurance doesn’t have coverage in 2014, they may have to pay a fee. They also have to pay for all of their health care. The fee is sometimes called the "individual responsibility payment," "individual mandate," or penalty. See more information about the individual mandate.


Need help?

Pierce County Library System

You can attend free events at your Pierce County Library for Affordable Care Act public information and schedule time to get help from certified in-person assisters. For locations, dates and times, see the calendar, flyer and news release.

 Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Through various community agencies, Pierce County residents can get one-on-one support that will allow those who are not likely to use a website or call center to learn about their options and enroll in health coverage.


Prepare before applying!

Print out this handy checklist and learn what information you'll need to gather before applying for insurance.

What you will need Checklist (printable pdf)


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