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Medicare Glossary

Definitions for common Medicare terms

affordable care act (ACA)

DEFINITION: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the landmark health reform legislation passed by the 111th Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. The legislation includes a long list of health-related provisions that began taking effect in 2010 and “continued to be rolled out over the next four years.” Key provisions are intended to extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, to implement measures that will lower health care costs and improve system efficiency, and to eliminate private insurance industry practices that include rescission and denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.