Healthcare Glossary


Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or “Obamacare,” is a comprehensive healthcare reform law passed in 2010. The law has three primary goals:

  • To make affordable health insurance available to more people and lower the uninsured rate. The law provides consumers with subsidies (premium tax credits) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
  • Expanded the Medicaid program to cover adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. (Note: Not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs.)
  • Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of healthcare generally.

The law has addressed some of small business owners’ top problems when it comes to health insurance, including soaring healthcare costs and limited choice among health plans. Since 2010 the increase in small business healthcare costs has been at the lowest level in years, following regular double-digit increases prior to the law’s enactment. Additionally, the health insurance marketplaces created under the ACA have been crucial to helping more small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs and small business employees gain access to health coverage.

Association Health Plans (AHPs)

Association health plans (AHPs) allow self-employed and small business owners to band together to purchase health insurance. Unlike ACA-compliant plans, they may charge different rates based on age, gender or location and they are not required to offer the same comprehensive benefits as ACA-compliant plans.

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