The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the comprehensive healthcare reform signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010.

Formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law includes a list of healthcare policies intended to access to health insurance to millions of Americans.

The act expanded Medicaid eligibility, created health insurance exchanges, mandated that Americans purchase or otherwise obtain health insurance.

The ACA was designed to reduce the cost of health insurance coverage for people who qualify for it. The law includes premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.

Premium tax credits lower your health insurance bill each month. Cost-sharing reductions, meanwhile, reduce your costs for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

All ACA-compliant health insurance plans including every plan that's sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover "essential health benefits":-

– Ambulatory patient services – Breastfeeding – Emergency services – Family planning – Hospitalization – Laboratory services – Mental health, etc

In addition, the ACA requires most insurance plans, including those sold on the Marketplace, to cover at no cost to policyholders a list of preventive services.

Every year, there is an open enrollment period on the Health Insurance Marketplace during which people can buy or switch insurance plans. 

If you miss this time, you cannot enroll until the following year unless you qualify for a special enrollment period because your circumstances change.

That circumstances changes are for example, you marry, divorce, become a parent, or lose a job that provided health insurance coverage.