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Let’s face it: health insurance is confusing. We’re here to help you figure out what the law means for you. 

What’s going on with the ACA?

The Affordable Care Act — also known as the ACA or Obamacare — is still the law of the land. There have been failed efforts in Congress to repeal the ACA, so the law is still in place. There have been some administrative changes to the ACA (more details in the next section), but you can still get affordable, comprehensive health insurance.

You can buy coverage through Health Insurance Marketplaces: Healthcare.gov, or your state Marketplace. Visit the websites to compare insurance plans and see if you qualify for financial assistance.

Under the ACA:

  • Most plans must cover preventive health services — like birth control and wellness exams —  at no cost to you.

  • Most plans must cover essential health benefits, like maternity and newborn care.

  • You can stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until you’re 26.

  • Insurers can’t deny you coverage or charge you more if you have a pre-existing health condition (including pregnancy).

  • Insurers can no longer charge you more just for being a woman.

Read more about your rights and protections under the ACA and what Marketplace insurance plans must cover.

Do all insurance plans have to provide the same coverage?

When the ACA first became law, all plans sold on the Health Insurance Marketplaces were supposed to provide high quality, affordable coverage. But the Trump administration changed the law so lower quality plans can also be sold on the Marketplaces. These plans, known as short-term plans, don’t have to cover maternity care, birth control, or other basic health care services. They’re also allowed to discriminate against patients, by doing things like charging women more for coverage and denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. These plans are often called "junk plans." They have cheaper premiums, but they don’t cover basic medical needs — which ends up costing you more out of pocket. Additionally, you can’t use financial assistance to buy these plans. So be careful when you choose a health insurance plan, and be wary of junk plans that don’t cover the health care you need.

Government-funded plans, like Medicaid and Medicare, must follow ACA regulations and provide coverage for preventative and essential health care services. This is also true for most workplace insurance plans that you get through your employer. There are certain exceptions, like if your plan is grandfathered, or if your employer is a religious organization and allowed to refuse to cover services, like birth control, in its health insurance plans.

Do I need health insurance to go to Planned Parenthood?

Whether you have insurance or not, you can always visit your local Planned Parenthood health center for the care you need, when you need it.

Many health insurance plans include Planned Parenthood as an in-network provider — this means your health insurance will pay for all, or most, of the cost of your health care at a Planned Parenthood health center. You can either call your insurance company or your local Planned Parenthood health center to learn whether Planned Parenthood is in-network with your health insurance plan. Find a Planned Parenthood health center near you.


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