Affordable Care Act

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Through a number of provisions—such as individual and employer mandates, health insurance exchanges, and the expansion of Medicaid—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to expand access to health care for uninsured Americans. RAND has examined implementation challenges, cost and coverage implications, Medicaid expansion, state health insurance exchanges, and reforms to both care delivery and payment.

  • Patient at a medical clinic filling out paperwork, photo by Dimensions/Getty Images

    Report

    How to Prevent Health Insurance Loss During Future Recessions

    The pandemic–related recession and job loss raised concerns that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance. But temporary aid to protect coverage prevented that from happening. Making the enhanced marketplace tax credits in the American Rescue Plan permanent could keep coverage stable in future recessions.

    Nov 12, 2021

  • A woman using an inhaler and holding her chest, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Importance of Getting the Affordable Part of the Affordable Care Act Right

    The ACA's expansion of Medicaid and the marketplaces that sell subsidized policies have helped decrease the uninsured rate. Research on being underinsured shows that affordability at the point of care is central to keeping people healthy. For example, a new study found a significant relationship between having health insurance and better asthma control.

    Jun 17, 2022

Explore Affordable Care Act

  • Doctor holding inhaler mask for girl breathing

    Commentary

    Can the Affordable Care Act Help Asthma Sufferers Breathe Easier?

    ACA reforms can potentially address barriers that get in the way of individuals with asthma getting the care they need. At the population level, the law has the potential to improve outcomes and efficiency and equity of services for chronic conditions such as asthma for which cost-effective preventive treatments exist.

    Nov 20, 2013

  • U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013

    Commentary

    Four Questions on Canceled Insurance Policy Fix

    David Mastio, Forum editor at USA TODAY, asked RAND's Christine Eibner four questions about President Obama's plan to fix the problem with people getting their insurance canceled.

    Nov 15, 2013

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    Blog

    The Future of the Health Care Workforce: RAND Researchers Well Represented in Health Affairs Special Issue

    In “Redesigning the Health Care Workforce,” a new special issue of the journal Health Affairs, RAND researchers contribute to several timely examinations of challenges, opportunities, and potential solutions relating to the future of health care staffing in the U.S. and abroad.

    Nov 7, 2013

  • Doctor consulting with a patient

    Q&A

    Quick Takes: Health Literacy and ACA Enrollment

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands coverage to millions of Americans. But the newly eligible may face challenges enrolling if they lack understanding of how the health care system itself works. Laurie Martin explains the role of health literacy in determining how successful the ACA will be in providing coverage for America's uninsured.

    Nov 7, 2013

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    Q&A

    Quick Takes: The Math of Medicaid Expansion

    Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is both contentious and complicated. RAND mathematician Carter Price has been using the COMPARE model to help those making decisions understand what their choices mean for their budgets and population health.

    Oct 21, 2013

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    Commentary

    Medicaid Access for the Formerly Incarcerated Under the ACA: Helping the Oft-Forgotten

    America's prison population tends to be sicker than the general population. While Medicaid eligibility under the ACA offers an historic opportunity, enrolling the formerly incarcerated into the health exchanges or Medicaid will be neither simple nor straightforward.

    Oct 3, 2013

  • young couple looking at their finances on a laptop on a couch

    Commentary

    Understanding the Affordable Care Act

    One of the chief aims of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the expansion of insurance coverage to individuals who at present either cannot afford it or choose not to purchase it. Unfortunately, many Americans lack the financial literacy needed to navigate the numerous and complex options thrust upon them by the ACA.

    Oct 2, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Affordable Care Act Will Reduce Out-of-Pocket Medical Spending for Many Americans

    The Affordable Care Act will have a varied impact on health spending by individuals and families, depending primarily on their income and whether they would have been uninsured in 2016 without the program.

    Oct 1, 2013

  • doctor and question mark blue background

    Blog

    Ask Me Anything: Carter Price on the Affordable Care Act

    As of October 1, many Americans can now shop for health insurance through state exchanges created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—the sweeping health care reform often referred to as “Obamacare.” To provide some insight into the ACA, RAND's Carter Price hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit today.

    Oct 1, 2013

  • a middle aged woman checking out at a medical reception counter

    Report

    Affordable Care Act Will Reduce Out-of-Pocket Medical Spending for Many Americans

    The Affordable Care Act will have a varied impact on health spending by individuals and families, depending primarily on their income and whether they would have been uninsured in 2016 without the program.

    Oct 1, 2013

  • Doctors reviewing an x-ray in reception area

    Commentary

    Will ACA Implementation Lead to a Spike in Demand for Care?

    The growing number of Americans newly-insured under the ACA will undoubtedly lead to a surge in demand for care, whether through Medicaid or insurance exchanges. But, if predictions hold, the increase won't be as dramatic as some may fear, writes David I. Auerbach.

    Sep 27, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    No Widespread Increase in Cost of Individual Health Insurance Policies Under Affordable Care Act

    An analysis of 10 states and the United States overall predicts that there will be no widespread premium increase in the individual health insurance market under the ACA. However, the cost of policies will vary among states and will be influenced by individual factors such as a person's age and whether they smoke.

    Aug 29, 2013

  • health insurance policy and reading glasses

    Commentary

    Data Points: Why Delay of the Employer Mandate May Not Actually Mean That Much

    The bottom line is that the employer mandate does not provide a large inducement for firms to change their health insurance offerings, but it does raise a substantial amount of money to pay for the ACA's coverage provisions over time.

    Aug 29, 2013

  • calculator, pills, and stethoscope

    Report

    No Widespread Increase in Cost of Individual Health Insurance Policies Under Affordable Care Act

    An analysis of 10 states and the United States overall predicts that there will be no widespread premium increase in the individual health insurance market under the ACA. However, the cost of policies will vary among states and will be influenced by individual factors such as a person's age and whether they smoke.

    Aug 29, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Delay of Employer Insurance Mandate Will Not Cause Major Problems for Affordable Care Act

    A one-year delay in requiring large employers to provide health insurance to their workers will not significantly hurt the goals of the Affordable Care Act, but a repeal of the requirement would seriously undermine financial support for the law.

    Aug 19, 2013

  • stethoscope and clock

    Report

    Delay of Employer Insurance Mandate Will Not Cause Major Problems for Affordable Care Act

    A one-year delay in requiring large employers to provide health insurance to their workers will not significantly hurt the goals of the Affordable Care Act, but a repeal of the requirement would seriously undermine financial support for the law.

    Aug 8, 2013

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    Dissertation

    Labor Market Outcomes of Health Shocks and Dependent Coverage Expansions

    A series of studies on sources of variation in individual valuation of employer-provided group health care found that the effects of bundling health insurance with employment in the U.S. can vary significantly within different population groups.

    Jul 24, 2013

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    Commentary

    Health Care Spending: What's in Store?

    Resolving the question of whether or not the U.S. has finally gotten a handle on health care spending is vitally important, because the choices we make going forward will have profound implications for our economy, the financial wellbeing of millions of American families, and ultimately America's standing in the world.

    Jul 16, 2013

  • Carter Price

    Multimedia

    The Math of State Medicaid Expansion

    Mathematician Carter Price discusses the potential impacts to low-income populations and local economies in states that choose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

    Jul 1, 2013

  • A stethoscope atop a United States flag

    Brochure

    Helping Decisionmakers Implement the ACA's Medicaid Provisions

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains many Medicaid-related provisions. RAND is working closely with decisionmakers at the federal and state levels to help resolve challenges associated with implementing the ACA's sweeping reforms.

    Jun 26, 2013

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