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Before you begin

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.

When you apply for coverage, following these tips can improve your online experience:

Applying for coverage

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.

Follow these steps to apply and enroll in health coverage in the Marketplace:

  1. Create a Marketplace account on HealthCare.gov.
  2. Fill out and submit an online application or download and complete a paper application. You can also apply by phone or in-person with an assister.
  3. You’ll get a notice (in the mail or in an email) telling you what coverage you are eligible for – review and save it.
  4. If you're eligible, shop for and enroll in a Marketplace health plan.
  5. To complete your enrollment, send your first premium payment to the plan you chose.

Ready to apply? There are several ways to apply for Marketplace coverage.

Account creation

  • If you’ve created an account previously and have had problems with it, create a new account with a new user name, email address, and password. Be sure to clear your cookies and cache before you create your new account.
  • If you don’t get an email from the Marketplace to confirm your account, check your spam/junk mail folder. The message may have gone there. Its subject line will say “Marketplace account created.”
  • If you click on the link in the email and it doesn’t work, try to cut and paste the link into your browser.

Identity proofing

To protect your personal information, you have to take a few steps to verify your identity before you can create a Marketplace account and complete an application.

If you encounter error messages or get stuck, try the following:

  • Be sure to enter your full name as it appears on your Social Security card and other official documents.
  • If your identity can’t be verified online, you’ll be told what to do next.
  • If you need to provide a copy of a document to prove your identity, see this list of documents.

The online coverage application

If you encounter error messages or get stuck, try the following:

  • Close and restart your browser
  • Clear your cookies and cache
  • Log off and try again in 30 minutes
  • Remove an application: If you’ve gotten stuck, have seen a series of error messages, or need to make changes to information you entered, you can remove an application and start a new one. You can do this from the “My Applications and Coverage” page.

Before you start a new application, clear your cookies and cache. Then follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Marketplace account.
  2. Select your current application.
  3. Click on the “Remove” button.
  4. Close out your web page, then log back in using the same account.

The paper coverage application

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.

If you want to apply using a paper application, follow these steps:

  1. Download a paper application on HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 and ask for a copy to be mailed to you. TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325.
  2. Fill out the application and mail it back to the address at the end.
  3. You’ll get a notice (in the mail or in an email) telling you what coverage you are eligible for – review and save it.
  4. Shop for and enroll in a Marketplace health plan.
  5. To complete your enrollment, send your first premium payment to the plan you chose.

Did you submit a paper application, and are you still waiting? Here’s what you can do:

  • Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (available 24/7). TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325.
  • Ask if you have an eligibility determination and an application ID number. Keep these handy – you’ll need them for the next step.
  • Choose how to complete your enrollment. You can do this 3 ways:
    1. . Stay on the line with the call center – they can review plan options with you.
    2. . Create a Marketplace account on HealthCare.gov to continue your enrollment online. To do this, you’ll need to get your application ID from the call center.
    3. . Make an appointment with an in-person assister in your community – find one now.

Comparing health plans

Having problems picking a plan? Here are 4 options for help:

  1. Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (available 24/7). TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325.
  2. Make an appointment with an in-person assister in your community – find one now
  3. If you know what insurance company you want to work with, call them directly. The company may be able to enroll you in coverage directly.
  4. Contact an insurance agent or broker.

Learn how to choose the health plan that’s right for you.

Medicaid or CHIP applications

If you applied for Medicaid or CHIP through your state’s Medicaid office, here’s what you need to know:

  • Your Medicaid office will mail you a notice or send you an email telling you if you’re eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.
  • If you’re eligible, you’ll get information about how to get benefits.
  • If you’re not eligible, your Medicaid agency will send your information to the Health Insurance Marketplace. You’ll get a letter or email from the Marketplace explaining next steps.

If you applied for Medicaid or CHIP through HealthCare.gov, here’s what you need to know:

  • If you’re eligible, the Marketplace will send your information to your Medicaid or CHIP agency. You’ll get information from your Medicaid or CHIP agency about how to get benefits and services.

  • If you might be eligible, you’ll get a letter from your Medicaid or CHIP agency asking for more information.

Learn more about Medicaid coverage and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Completing your enrollment

  • Once you enroll in a plan, you must pay your first premium directly to the insurance company – not to the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Insurance companies handle payments differently. Follow the instructions from your insurer about how and when to make your premium payment and the due date.

Not sure you’re enrolled?

  • Go to HealthCare.gov any time, log in to your account, and click on your application. You’ll see a summary on the My Coverage page. Click for more details about your enrollment and plan benefits, including contact information for the customer service center at the health plan of your choice.
  • If you aren’t sure you’ve finished the process and enrolled, call your insurance company. They can confirm whether you’re enrolled and have paid your first month’s premium.
  • If you’re having trouble, contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (available 24/7). TTY: 1-855-889-4325.

After you’re enrolled

After you’ve checked with your insurance company to make sure you’ve enrolled and paid your first premium:

  • Carefully review your member card or other materials your plan sends you. If you didn’t get a card, or if there are any errors, contact your insurance company. Note: Even if you haven’t received your insurance card, your coverage may be effective. Until you have a card, you may want to bring a printed copy of your enrollment confirmation page from the Health Insurance Marketplace to your provider or pharmacy. Some are accepting this document as evidence of insurance until cards are available.
  • To learn more about your coverage, go to HealthCare.gov any time, log in to your account, and click on your application. You’ll see a summary of your coverage on the My Coverage page. Click the links for more details about your plan benefits.
  • Review your plan’s provider directory and decide who will provide your care.
  • Contact your insurance company with any questions.
  • Learn more about using your new Marketplace coverage.