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Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act  provides Americans with better health security by putting in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will:

  • Expand coverage,
  • Hold insurance companies accountable,
  • Lower health care costs,
  • Guarantee more choice, and
  • Enhance the quality of care for all Americans.

The Affordable Care Act actually refers to two separate pieces of legislation — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152) — that, together expand Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income Americans and makes numerous improvements to both Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

This section focuses on the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act related to Medicaid and CHIP. If you are interested in the law as a whole, you can:

Since the new law was enacted in March 2010, CMS has worked together with state partners to identify key implementation priorities and provide the guidance needed to prepare for the significant changes to Medicaid and CHIP that will take effect on January 1, 2014.  In particular, CMS has provided several forms of guidance and federal support for state efforts to develop new or upgrade existing eligibility systems

In March 2012, CMS released two final rules defining the eligibility and enrollment policies needed to achieve a seamless system of coverage for individuals who will be eligible for Medicaid beginning in 2014, as well as eligibility and enrollment for the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges. The final rules establish the framework for States’ implementation of the eligibility expansion going forward.  A specific description of all of the major Medicaid and CHIP-related provisions of the Affordable Care Act as well as related policy guidance can be found under ACA Provisions.