Health insurance and the Affordable Care Act

Starting October 1, 2013, Americans can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also called the ACA or Obamacare). Health insurance (also called health coverage or health plan) helps you pay for medical care.

The law gives people new choices for health insurance. It also gives many people help to pay for insurance. The law also sets new rules for how insurance companies offer coverage and how much they can charge you for it. Many of these new rules affect health care services for women and families. Learn how the ACA is changing health insurance coverage and what these changes may mean to you.

Find out what to look for in an insurance plan. You may get your health insurance from your employer (where you work) or your partner’s employer. Or you may get it from the government or buy it on your own. No matter where you get it, health insurance is important to help you pay for medical care for you and your family.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act:

Most common questions

What is happening with health care reform?

While some provisions take effect this September (see our In-depth article), the new law will not fully go into effect until 2014. In the interim, the March of Dimes is reviewing and commenting on the rules for implementation that are being issued by the Administration.

The March of Dimes will update this site on items that directly affect women of childbearing age, infants and children, but to get even more information about all of the advances, visit

Where can I find out about getting insurance coverage for my child?

The first place to inquire is with your state insurance commissioner's office. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a Web site to help parents determine if their children are eligible for free or low-cost health coverage under the reauthorized Children's Health Insurance Program. Visit for more information.

Why did the March of Dimes support health care reform?

Since our founding, the March of Dimes has worked to shape public policy that affects maternal and child health. Health reform offered an unparalleled opportunity to improve the health of and address the needs of women, infants and children. Specifically:

  • Expanding and improving coverage for maternity and pediatric care
  • Strengthening Medicaid (which covers more than 40% of all births)
  • Increasing the number of currently uninsured women of childbearing age and children who will be covered in 2014

By law and longstanding tradition, the March of Dimes is strictly nonpartisan and remained nonpartisan throughout the debate. Initially, we worked with members with many different views and party affiliations, but as the debate went on, we focused our energies on ensuring that legislation likely to be approved contained the strongest provisions possible to address the unique health needs of children and pregnant women.

©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).