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Blog Post

By: Jersey College // March 04, 2015

What is the impact of the Affordable Care Act on nursing?

Health care is an essential aspect of our society that is always changing.  Technology is one way health care gets pushed forward through improved treatments and record keeping methods.  Another very powerful way health care can be affected is politics & laws that govern facilities and insurance plans. 


Most recently, the Affordable Care Act which was passed by Congress started making changes to the health care landscape in 2010.  In the past four years, additional laws have been put into effect that are changing how Americans apply for, receive and get access to health care.  This has left nurses, asking: How have these changes affected the field of nursing?


Potential Nurses:

•             The Affordable Care Act set aside funds in the form of scholarships and grants to allow students to pay for school and for the creation of education programs to recruit more nurses to fill the gap in health care providers.  The act hopes to provide care to those in under-served areas and to ensure there are enough nurses in specific areas as the workforce retires. 

o             For more information on these opportunities, see the ANA Health Care Reform handout: http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/HealthSystemReform/AffordableCareAct.pdf


Nurses as Employees:

•             Nurses must have health insurance – whether employer-based or purchased through the ACA Marketplace.  Anyone that does not opt to have insurance (although statistics show that most health care professionals do get it) will have to pay a tax penalty for not having insurance.

•             Nurses who do not work in a facility that offers employer-sponsored insurance may be eligible for tax credits so they can purchase their own insurance plan through the new Health Care Marketplace.  This includes self-employed nurses as well.


Nurses as Care Givers:

•             In 2014, a few provisions of the ACA mean that many facilities will have many more patients.  These provisions include:

1.            Insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or cancelling plans for illness.

2.            All citizens must obtain insurance or pay a tax penalty.

3.            Dependents can be covered on a parent/guardian’s plan until age 26.

4.            Lifetime limits on care are restricted.

5.            Many plans offer free wellness visits throughout the year meaning patients can receive free preventive care.

•             Certain provisions provide for the opening of new facilities and programs to meet the needs of underserved areas.  This can provide new types of job opportunities for nurses such as community health care centers.

o             For more information on these opportunities, see the ANA Health Care Reform handout: http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/HealthSystemReform/AffordableCareAct.pdf


Many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act provide great support for nurses to get an education, get health insurance and gain employment in the field.