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Get Covered: A one-page guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace
Here’s a quick rundown on the most important things to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange.” Follow the links for more information on each topic.
Important. Marketplace Open Enrollment ended March 31. You can still buy a Marketplace health plan only if you qualify for a special enrollment period. You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time. Learn about special enrollment periods and other coverage options after Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment for 2015 coverage starts November 15, 2014.
The Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured people find health coverage. Fill out the Marketplace application and we’ll tell you if you qualify for:
- Private health insurance. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care.
- Lower costs based on your household size and income. You can preview plans available in your area right now, with prices based on your income and household size. Most people who apply will qualify for lower costs.
- Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs cover millions of families with limited income. If it looks like you qualify, we’ll share information with your state agency and they’ll contact you. Many but not all states are expanding Medicaid in 2014 to cover more people. Find out what Medicaid expansion means for you.
Most people must have health coverage in 2014 or pay a penalty. If you don’t have coverage, you’ll pay a fee of either 1% of your income, or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), whichever is higher. You'll pay the fee on your 2015 income taxes.
Some people qualify for an exemption to the fee, based on income or other factors.
You’re considered covered if you have Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, any plan you bought yourself, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage.
You can also buy a plan outside the Marketplace and still be considered covered. If you buy outside the Marketplace, you won’t be eligible for premium tax credits or lower out-of-pocket costs based on your income.
If you’re eligible for job-based insurance, you can consider switching to a Marketplace plan. But you won’t qualify for lower costs based on your income unless the job-based insurance isn't considered affordable or doesn’t meet minimum requirements.
If you have Medicare, you’re considered covered and don’t have to make any changes. If you have Medicare, you can’t use the Marketplace to buy a supplemental plan or dental plan.
Use this checklist to gather items you'll need when applying for coverage.
Questions? Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
Important information about paper applications
If you mailed in a paper application, you should get a call from the Marketplace when your application is processed. They’ll explain how to finish enrolling online or by phone. If you haven’t been contacted about your paper application yet, you don’t have to wait: You can go online or call the Marketplace to start a new application and enroll.