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Signed into law on March 23, 2010, the ACA made health insurance available to all Americans. Here's what you need to know:

  • Guaranteed Issue: No one can deny you coverage based on your health status.
  • Essential Health Benefits: A set of 10 health care service categories that health plans must cover.
  • Open Enrollment Period: A specific time of year you can purchase health insurance for the upcoming year. You can enroll outside that window if you experience a Special Enrollment Event, like marriage or birth.
  • Tax penalties: In 2017, Congress eliminated the tax penalty associated with failing to have health insurance. This became effective in 2019.
  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage: This important document gives an overview of your plan and coverage options.

About your rights

All Americans must have health insurance (called Minimum Essential Coverage) or pay a tax penalty.

The ACA includes a number of important benefits and protections. For example, dependents can now be covered on family plans up to age 26, and no one can deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions. All new Wellmark plans meet or exceed these requirements.

Visit our Uniform Glossary of Benefits

Most people don’t use words like "coinsurance" and "in-network" in their day-to-day life, so that's why a Uniform Glossary of Benefits is also available. With simple and concise definitions, the glossary makes it easier to understand some of the common terms used in health insurance.