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How can I Enroll?

When it comes down to it, the Affordable Care Act has actually made joining health insurance more straightforward. Essentially, you can buy health insurance like you would buy an airline ticket — with the ability to search, compare and filter multiple options on an online portal. But, while this process was built to make buying health insurance more clear, it can be confusing to figure out all the new rules that come along with it.

Here in this Affordable Care Act summary, we’re going to lay out everything you need to know about Obamacare. By answering your burning questions, we hope to give you a better understanding of not only how Obamacare works, but also how it affects you.

Before we explain everything about Obamacare, it’s important to define what this law is. “Obamacare” is actually an unofficial nickname that’s used to refer to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This law is usually abbreviated as the “Affordable Care Act” or “ACA”.

The Affordable Care Act took effect starting in 2013. Since then, it has had a broad impact on health insurance plans across the United States. The ACA has affected everything from the type of coverage provided, to how and when plans are purchased, and even how much healthcare will cost.

Today, when people refer to their individual or family health insurance coverage (without getting it from an employer), they’re generally talking about an ACA plan. They could also be referring to an alternative plan, but we’ll get to those options later.

How to buy coverage

You can buy your health insurance directly through the healthcare marketplace each year during Open Enrollment Periods. There are also additional chances to join, called Special Enrollment Periods. No matter when you are eligible to buy healthcare plans, you can get it directly via the ACA marketplace, web-enabled brokers, or through licensed agents like