The Affordable Care Act Turns 13! Here are 13 Things You Should Know About the Affordable Care Act and Its Impact

March 24, 2023

March 23, 2023 marks the 13th anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the passage of this important piece of legislation, millions of Americans became eligible for health insurance. Yet 13 years later, millions are still at a loss as to what is and is not covered under the ACA, who qualifies for coverage and most importantly, how to get coverage. With that in mind, we here at AFC (AIDS Foundation Chicago) have prepared 13 facts you should know about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

  1. What other names do you call it? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare 
  2. How many Americans have health insurance coverage this year because of the ACA? Over 16 million people have signed up for ACA marketplace coverage for 2023, and over 22 million people are enrolled in Medicaid expansion coverage available due to the ACA.
  3. What are some “essential health benefits” (EHBs) the ACA covers? Emergency services, family planning, maternity care, hospitalization, prescription medications, mental health services, and pediatric care. There are 10 broad EHB categories in total. 
  4. How has the ACA affected the HIV epidemic? Following implementation of several major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, health insurance coverage for people living with HIV (PLWH) increased, leading to sustained viral suppression in some instances and improving their ability to increase access to life-saving services, not just related to HIV, but for other chronic conditions that PLWH often have as well. 
  5. What is a “pre-existing condition” and what has the ACA done for those living with it? A pre-existing condition is any illness, medical condition, or injury that existed or occurred before a person signs up for a new health care plan. The ACA prohibits health insurance companies from denying, charging more, or limiting benefits for people living with pre-existing conditions, including HIV. 
  6. Do health insurance plans that have to comply with the ACA cover mental health, substance use treatment, birth control, maternity care, or pediatric care? Yes, they do! 
  7. How many people are currently enrolled in health insurance coverage in IL because of the ACA? Just under one million people in IL have health insurance through the federal Marketplace or the IL Medicaid program thanks to the ACA! 
  8. Has the ACA ever been repealed? Despite numerous attempts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans, the ACA remains the law of the land in the U.S. 
  9. How long can young people stay on their parents' health insurance thanks to the ACA? Young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26. 
  10. How has the ACA affected Medicaid? For 2023, over 22 million people are enrolled in Medicaid expansion coverage available due to the ACA; of those 22 million people, just under 4 million are people in IL. 
  11. What preventive services are covered by the ACA? The ACA requires private insurance plans to cover United States Preventative Services Taskforce (USPSTF) Grade A and B recommended preventive services without patient cost-sharing (I.e., co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance). These preventive services range from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent acquiring HIV, to STIs (sexually transmitted infections) screenings, routine immunizations, mammograms, and more. For more information about all the preventive services covered by the ACA, please visit Preventive Care | 
  12. What if you do not qualify for Medicaid? Check or your state’s marketplace to sign up and enroll in a plan during each year’s open enrollment period. And while it is not health insurance coverage, if you are a person living with HIV, you may qualify for financial assistance for your HIV treatment through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)
  13. How many states expanded Medicaid? 40 states (including DC) have expanded Medicaid so far, thanks to the ACA. 

Categorized under AFC news and Inside Story.

Recommended Articles