Nurse’s Guide to the Affordable Care Act: A Comprehensive guide to understanding and using the law

Nurse's Guide to the Affordable Care Act
Nurse's Guide to the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is perhaps the most well-known legislation enacted by the Barack Obama administration. The ACA requires all U.S. residents to have health insurance or pay a fine. It also requires most private and public employers to offer some form of health insurance to their employees or pay a fine. You can find out more about the ACA here, but for those who are still unsure about what it means for them, we wrote this comprehensive guide that covers everything from its scope to implementation and enforcement.

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The ACA (“ACA”) is the largest federal legislation passed by Congress during Barack Obama’s presidency. The act was signed into law by Obama on March 23, 2013, and went into effect in 2014. The goal of the ACA is to expand access to quality, affordable health insurance to all Americans. It also includes some key changes that will affect workers who get health insurance coverage as a result of employment.

What will happen to health insurance coverage as a result of the ACA?

As of November 2014, the law will reduce the number of people without health insurance by about 10%. It will also expand the number of people with health insurance coverage by about 15%. As noted above, the law’s full impact will not be felt for several years. But even in 2020, the year the law phases out Medicare’s “don’t-care” attitude towards private insurance, about 15% of the population will still not have health insurance.

How does the Affordable Care Act affect employers?

The ACA contains rules that apply to both small and large employers. “Small” employer coverage is now generally defined as those with fewer than 50 employees. “Large” employer coverage is generally defined as those with more than 50 but less than 500 employees. But there are a few key distinctions between the two groups of employers. For one, the ACA allows employers to offer “cheaper” coverage to employees who want it, but the coverage has to be of the same quality as that provided to other employees. Critically, the law applies the same rules to large and small businesses with respect to group health plans and qualified group health benefits.

How does the Affordable Care Act affect employees?

The key to understanding how the law affects employees is to understand the impact on employers. If an employer offers health insurance to all of his or her employees, the coverage is generally not subject to the law’s requirements. But certain groups of employees are subject to different rules — including those who work for employers that have less than 50 employees, who earn less than $18,000 per year, and whose employer is not a “small” or “large” employer.

Will there be any changes to my health insurance plan after March 31, 2014?

You might’ve heard that the law will change your health insurance plan as of March 31, 2014. But that’s not the whole story. The law only changes the health insurance marketplace; it doesn’t change the way your plan is set up or the coverage you’re offered. As an employee, you can keep your current health insurance plan and arrange for it to be renewed in the fall of 2014, as long as it’s a health insurance plan that’s not part of the exchanges. If you choose not to arrange for your plan to be renewed, you can call your health insurance company and ask them to provide you with a new plan. But remember — this is not your health insurance plan until March 31, 2014.

Establishing Your Health Insurance Plan – free ebook download

One of the best things about the Affordable Care Act is that it establishes the “rule of three.” Meaning that it takes three months for most plans to become effective, two months for most providers to become effective, and one month for most of the changes to your health care plan to take effect. During that period, you can determine how flexible your health insurance plan is and whether or not you want to keep it. So you may want to take some time to get a handle on how your plan is established and determine if you want to keep it. Another good thing about the rule of three is that it gives individuals plenty of time to get their affairs in order and figure out how they want to proceed before the law’s requirements take effect.

Benefits of Employer Health Insurance – free ebook download

Another perk of the “rule of three” is that it gives employees plenty of time to plan for the upcoming changes. During the rule of three, employees have the opportunity to shop around for health insurance policies and compare rates. When you shop for health insurance on the exchanges, you can’t just pick the cheapest policy and go with it. Rather, you need to shop within each market to get the best deal. So during the rule of three, you can compare different cities and compare different types of policies in different price ranges. During the rule of three, employees can also see if there are any employer-offered plans that they might be interested in. If you decide to offer an employer-offered plan, make sure you shop around to see if anyone is offering a better deal — because those deals won’t last long.

Recruiting and Hiring: The Essentials of an Effective Health Care initiative – free ebook download

There are a few other ways the law can affect your recruiting and hiring efforts. For one, hospital charity care is now a thing of the past. That is, if you have a hospital emergency room, you are required to discharge your patient as quickly as possible, and you have to give them proper discharge documents. Furthermore, the law requires insurance companies to cover essential services, such as mental health counseling, substance use disorder services, and substance abuse treatment, and provides for state-run high-risk pools for people with pre-existing medical conditions.


The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a major piece of legislation that will affect many aspects of health care in the United States. It was passed by the US House of Representatives in March 2013 and the Senate one month later. The act is a complex law with many moving parts, and there’s no guarantee that all of them will work exactly as planned.

Noah Chapman
Hello, Im Noah Chapman. Im Editor And SEO analysis for Im a man with 3 beautiful angels towards me. That my beautiful wife, and two beautiful daughters.