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Affordable Care Act Provisions for Consumers

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the most consequential piece of health care legislation in decades and remains deeply controversial among the American public more than two years after becoming law. Even though some individuals have strongly held opinions about the law, much of the public still has a relatively poor understanding what reforms are in the ACA. Yet, educating the public about the ACA is critical to its success because its reforms affect many people in a variety of significant ways. To enable consumers to both take advantage of the opportunities and to understand their responsibilities under the law, it will be critical for them to be knowledgeable about its effects. Importantly, many elements of the law have the potential to improve individuals’ health and financial security—substantially in some cases. This brief provides an outline of the major elements of the ACA that directly affect consumers and explains the aims that these reforms are designed to achieve.

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