The Affordable Care Act and Caregivers Research Brief . Informal Caregivers and the Affordable Care Act


As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance coverage is now more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans who serve as informal caregivers. The ACA invests in prevention and wellness, and provides individuals and families with important protections, such as ensuring that women are not charged higher premiums than men for the same plan and people with pre-existing conditions are not denied coverage.

Because of the availability of affordable, quality health insurance, caregivers will not have to make a choice between their care and that of a loved one due to financial constraints. Health coverage, including mental health coverage, also helps ensure that caregivers have the tools they need to take care of themselves and fight any adverse effects caregiving may have on their health, so they can continue to care for their loved ones for years to come.

Under the ACA, millions of informal caregivers are better able to get affordable, quality health insurance coverage:

  • More caregivers are able to get health insurance coverage from private insurance issuers in the Health Insurance Marketplace or as a result of Medicaid expansion.

  • Consumers now have access to health insurance through the Marketplace that fits their needs and budget. All plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, recommended preventive care, and more.5 Lower income consumers are eligible for financial assistance that make Marketplace plans more affordable.

  • Private plans offered in the individual and small group market are required to cover ten essential health benefit categories, including prescription drugs and mental health and substance use disorder services.6 For more information on the categories, visit

  • People who are eligible for Medicaid can enroll in coverage at any time. To date, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have expanded their Medicaid programs pursuant to the ACA to extend eligibility to more individuals. To check to see if you are eligible, visit:

  • The ACA has also benefited Medicare recipients, by providing them with improved accessibility of preventive screenings and coordination of care. For more information on the ACA and Medicare, visit

  • For Medicaid beneficiaries, the ACA provided additional opportunities for states to provide home and community-based services. Through the Balancing Incentives Program, for example, 18 states have made structural changes to their home and community-based services systems and are providing new or expanded services in community settings. Through the Community First Choice Program, an enhanced federal Medicaid match incentivizes states to provide more home and community-based attendant services. The Money Follows the Person Rebalancing demonstration, which gives states more options to serve people in the community, was extended and expanded through the ACA. As of December 2013, more than 40,500 individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions have transitioned to the community through the program. To learn more about Medicaid, visit

The ACA provides important tools to help informal caregivers take care of themselves. The new Medicaid community-based support options also create opportunities to better assist informal caregivers. The ACA is an important tool to help informal caregivers care for their own physical and mental health.

  • For more information on the Marketplace, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program, visit to learn more. If you have questions or need to find someone who can help you in person, find local help at, or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Translation services are available. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325. The call is free.

  • For Medicare specific questions or to learn more about Medicare coverage, visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.


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