On Jan. 1, 2014, millions of Americans became covered under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration’s answer to universal health insurance. Although the new law suffered a rocky Oct. 1 start, the same day as the federal government shutdown, the ACA has seen a recent spike in enrollees.
According to The New York Times, Jan. 1 marked the day when insurance companies could no longer discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions or charge women higher premiums than men. Further, insurers can no longer put caps on spending for “essential health benefits” for any particular policyholder.
“I feel a huge sense of relief,” Katie Norvell, a music therapist who was uninsured for more than three years and has a pre-existing gynecological condition, told the Times. “With coverage, I can be my best self. Health insurance won’t control my job choices.”
Yet the Obama administration is still focused on enrolling more Americans, particularly young, healthy millennials to help drive down the costs of premiums, according to The Associated Press. Online ads featuring “Pajama Boy” and other young characters lead a rigorous campaign leading up to the holidays, when millennials were encouraged to talk to their parents about health insurance coverage for the new year.