Those who are eligible to apply for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) more popularly known as ObamaCare must do so before December 23rd in order to be covered as from Jan 1st. Go to https://www.healthcare.gov/ to apply.
This highly controversial legislation was signed into law by President Obama on March 2010. It was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court on June 2012. Last October's 16-day government shutdown can be attributed almost in its entirety to an impasse about this legislation. The Tea Party faction of the Republican Party demanded that Congress stop health care reform from proceeding by removing funding for it. It failed.
Besides political hurdles, ObamaCare suffered massive technical glitches when it launched. The website was unable to handle the amount of traffic and reports claim that the system had other numerous bugs. Reuters reported on December 14 that around 15,000 enrolment forms filled out by people applying for health insurance were not transmitted properly to insurers. As a result of this mess, the Chief Information Officer for the agency running the troubled health insurance website resigned.
With ObamaCare people can no longer be denied coverage or treatment because they had been sick in the past or be dropped mid-treatment for making a simple mistake on their application. Insurers can no longer apply annual or lifetime limits on healthcare. Also ObamaCare practically makes health insurance available to practically everyone.
Immunisation for children is will be free. Young adults can stay on their parent's plan until 26 and improvements related to women’s health such as mammograms and wellness visits are covered automatically.
Another provision of ObamaCare is called the 80/20 Rule, which requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of insurance premium on health care or improvements to care. If they fail to meet this benchmark, for example by spending excessively on advertising and CEO bonuses they must provide a rebate to their customers.
People who were already covered by health insurance will benefit further.
According to ObamaCareFacs.com, as of 2013 there were around 44 million Americans who were unable to get health insurance.