On March 23, 2010 the United States Congress passed the Affordable Care Act.
In one sentence the law requires everyone to have health insurance and prohibits anyone from being denied coverage.
The law also requires any new coverage after January 1, 2014 to meet several benefit levels. For example, plans will include maternity coverage.
In order to obtain coverage in 2014 it can be purchased directly from a carrier or through a shopping center called an “Exchange”. When plans are purchased through the Exchange the coverage will be provided through a private carrier.
See the diagram below
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