Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • The Affordable Care Act requires eligible citizens to get and keep qualified health insurance
  • Every citizen and legal resident must get coverage unless exempt
  • Residents must buy insurance to get costs savings and financial benefits
  • Residents need buy insurance to take advantage of no-cost prevention and wellness programs


The nation made many decisions in the presidential election of 2008; one was a mandate for national health insurance. After many other advanced nations had done so, the United States decided to join the group of governments that offered universal health insurance.

Compare health insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

One state, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, had begun a program that would serve as a blueprint for implementing the national program.

Why We Must Have Insurance

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In 2010, Congress passed a national health insurance law. The Affordable Care Act is often called Obamacare. This US law requires citizens and legal residents to get health insurance. The key ideas were to cover everyone, and that everyone would have to get coverage. Comparison shopping is a great way to compare insurance policies.

This method can use the features that are most important to the consumer as the basis for comparison. It goes beyond the surface of price and premiums to find the value to the consumer’s individual or family situation.

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The Individual Mandate

The Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010. After passage, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires every eligible person to get and keep health insurance. The law contained a basic requirement that health insurance meet particular standards. The insurance had to contain the essential health benefits and exceed a minimum amount of benefits.

The law applied to existing policies, those yet to be issued, and employer-sponsored plans.

The requirement that everyone have and keep insurance coverage began in January 2014. Called the individual mandate, it set a penalty for those that fail or refuse to get insurance.

The Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is a vital period for health insurance. It is the last time to buy insurance until the next sign up period without an extension or an exception. During this period, every eligible person has a right to buy qualified and affordable health insurance. The insurance must have a minimum value established by federal rules, and it must not cost more than eight percent of the annual family income.

The open enrollment period for calendar year 2017 runs from November 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017. The open period is a great time to use comparison shopping. The ACA groups plans by percentage of benefits paid by insurance.

Consumers can use their future for comparison such as out of pocket expenses. After open enrollment closes, consumers must use one of the below-listed items to enroll.

  • Federal extension of open enrollment
  • State exchange extension of open enrollment
  • A qualifying life event for a special enrollment period

The Health Benefits of Insurance

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Purchasing health insurance opens up the benefits of prevention and wellness in addition to regular medical care. The goals of the Affordable Care Act include longer, healthier lives for Americans. Prevention and wellness are major benefits for individuals and families. Obamacare provides screenings, exams, tests, and vaccinations without extra cost. Wellness visits help everyone and particularly women of child-bearing age.

Hidden inside of the mountain of public debt and quickly rising healthcare entitlements was a more important excess of human suffering. People were suffering from severe diseases that were treatable when detected at early stages. This included diabetes, heart failure, kidney failure, and many forms of cancer.

Lack of health knowledge led millions to ignore good health practices like diet and exercise. Prevention and wellness are pillars of the Affordable Care Act and offer a vast potential to improve American health and reduce the resources needed to do so.

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The Financial Benefits of Health Insurance

Consumers should buy health insurance to get the financial benefits. Obamacare provides a structure for improving financial security. The law helps consumers pay premiums by reducing them through tax credits. The law also provides savings accounts for deductible expenses; unspent funds increase financial security. The health saving accounts feature permits pretax savings that one can use to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

Some healthy or fortunate consumers will not need to spend on healthcare. They can keep the funds and roll them over to the next year. Earnings on the saved funds are tax-free. The savings feature builds tax-free income year after year.

In later years, consumers can convert a Health Savings Account to income without penalty. They save on taxes and build a solid foundation for handling unexpected medical costs not covered by insurance.

The Public Benefits of Universal Health Insurance

Neighborhood and community-based healthcare facilities were among the casualties of uncontrolled healthcare costs in America. These small hospitals and clinics serve vital functions in local public safety across the US.

Expanded coverage by Medicaid and Obamacare reduces the financial drain on community healthcare institutions from providing emergency services that patients cannot afford to pay.

The lack of greater insurance coverage left millions of patients without the means to pay for healthcare. They relied upon emergency rooms and hospital triage centers to provide the needed care. They often waited until illnesses reached critical stages before getting treatment. The unpaid bills caused financial crises; many institutions were forced to cut back services, and some have failed.

Costs Reduction Assistance

Health Savings Account Bank

Obamacare reduces the impact of deductibles and out of pocket expenses. Based on income, consumers that earn less than 400 percent of the federal poverty guideline get assistance with deductibles and out-of-pocket expense. The costs reduction assistance effectively raises the value of the plan and reduces the amounts needed to reach deductible thresholds.

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Qualified Health Insurance

The law requires qualified health insurance that meets the standards for value, coverage, and essential benefits. This protection goes by law into all policies. Those sold off the marketplace must meet the standards but may not get financial and costs assistance.

  • Meet minimum essential coverage
  • Offer Essential health benefits with no dollar limit
  • Costs less than eight percent of the family annual income

Health Insurance is the Law and Wisdom

The most compelling reasons to get health insurance are the benefits of a healthier, longer life. One can find potential illnesses and health conditions and treat them before they become severe. One can learn to live symptom-free and maintain good health with wellness practices.

The practical reasons to get health insurance involve saving money and avoiding a tax penalty.

Obamacare offers costs reduction and savings accounts to strengthen finances. The individual mandate requires that residents and citizens insure themselves or pay a tax for failing to do so. When selecting insurance, comparison shopping can make it easier to find the right policy for the individual or family situation. Finding the right insurance involves more than comparing premiums.

Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to start comparing health insurance rates now! Consumers must determine the true costs, and comparison shopping is an excellent tool.