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Health Care Reform

On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act became law. This law is called health care reform and it provides many new patient rights. It also offers new ways to get health insurance.

New rights

  • In most health plans, many vaccines, cancer screenings, and other preventive care services are now free, with no co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible. Learn more.
  • Health plans cannot refuse to cover children because they have a health problem or disability.
  • Starting in 2014, plans cannot charge you more or refuse to cover you because you have a health problem or are pregnant.
  • Young adults who cannot get insurance through their employer can stay on their parent’s or guardian’s plan until age 26. To learn more, contact your health plan.
  • Plans cannot put a lifetime limit on how much care they will pay for if you get sick. And yearly limits will end in 2014.
  • Plans cannot cancel your coverage just because you get sick or make an unintentional mistake on your application.

New ways to get health insurance

Covered California is a new health plan marketplace where you can apply for health plans, such as HMOs and PPOs. You may qualify for tax credits to help pay premiums.

Covered California makes it easier to compare plans and find one you can afford. Preview plans and compare costs at or call 1-800-300-1506 for more information.

If you apply before December 15, 2013, your health plan will start January 1, 2014.

If you need coverage before 2014, go to OPA’s page on finding health care.


View OPA’s new series of videos on health care change in California:

Preventive Care Services (English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and sign language)

Consumer Assistance (English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and sign language)

Your Right to an Interpreter (English, Spanish with Spanish captions, Spanish with English Captions, Cantonese, Mandarin, and sign language)

Health Care Reform in California (English only)

Your Rights Under Health Care Reform (English only)



Federal Health Reform Rights and Protections