How We Use Your Data
Learn more about how your individual Marketplace information is used
This fact sheet provides more information about how your information is being used in the Health Insurance Marketplace® run by CMS, your rights to access records that are maintained about you, your right to file an appeal, and other helpful information. Review it carefully.
Click on the following to learn more about:
Read the official Privacy Act Statement required by the Privacy Act of 1974.
What is the Marketplace?
The Marketplace is a resource where you can learn about your health coverage options, compare health insurance plans based on costs, benefits, and other important features, choose a plan, and enroll in coverage. The Marketplace also provides information on programs that help people with low to moderate income and resources pay for coverage. This includes ways to save on the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs of coverage available through the Marketplace, and information about other programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In some states, the Marketplace is run by the state. In others it is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If you’re applying for health coverage in a state running its own Marketplace, visit HealthCare.gov and you’ll be directed to your state’s marketplace. This page describes how the Marketplaces run by CMS use your information, and does not apply to Marketplaces run by states.
How does the Marketplace use my information?
As a federal agency operating the Marketplace and associated programs, CMS is required to protect the information it collects and maintains. CMS respects your right to privacy and will protect the information it maintains about you in the ongoing operation of the Marketplace in accordance with all required laws, regulations and standards. “You” refers to any person whose information is entered on your application, or those acting on such a person’s behalf.
CMS needs your information to determine eligibility for:
- Enrollment in a Marketplace plan, also known as a Qualified Health Plan
- Insurance affordability programs
- Certifications of exemption from the individual responsibility requirement
When you apply for health coverage or an exemption, your information may be used to:
- Help you with the application process
- Verify information like your identity and any income history you provide
- Give you accurate information about as many different cost-saving programs as possible
- Help you resolve questions about the results of your application, including an appeal if you decide to file one
- Communicate with you during the eligibility process
When you enroll in health coverage, your information may be used to:
- Help you enroll
- Report and manage the advance payments of premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions to the issuer of your Marketplace plan, if you’re eligible
- Communicate with you throughout the enrollment process
After you enroll in health coverage, your information may be used to:
- Continue communications with you
- Help you keep your coverage up to date
- Verify your continued eligibility
- Perform ongoing execution of the functions of the Marketplace, such as operation of insurance affordability programs for those who are enrolled, and oversight of issuers of Marketplace Health Plans
- Respond to any consumer feedback or complaints you file
- Combat fraud and abuse in the federal health care system
- Respond to suspected or confirmed breaches of Marketplace security or confidentiality of information
When your state Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) transfers a health coverage application to the Marketplace, your information is used to:
- Pre-populate a Marketplace application
- Give you accurate information about next steps and deadlines
- Contact you to help you transition to the Marketplace
- Help you with the application and enrollment process
Also, federal law (like the Privacy Act and Social Security Act) may require or permit CMS to share information we collect or maintain about you for other purposes. More information on the ways your information is allowed to be used and shared can be found in the Health Information Exchange Program (HIX) System of Record Notice 09-70-0560.
Who can my Marketplace information be shared with and why?
CMS will only share your information as needed and described in the System of Records Notice or as authorized or required by law. Examples of when CMS may disclose your information to agencies or people who need the information for specific reasons are provided below. For more information, review the System of Records Notice.
When you apply, CMS verifies the information you provide with these organizations and agencies to determine your eligibility to purchase a qualified health plan through the Marketplace and, if you choose, for help paying for health coverage:
Not all applicants will need to provide all of this information. For example, you’ll be asked about your employment, income, and enrollment in health coverage only if you want help paying for health coverage.
- Social Security may verify your Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and citizenship status.
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security may verify your immigration status and/or naturalized citizenship status.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may verify your household income and family size; the income of household members may also be verified with the Social Security Administration and with a consumer credit reporting agency
- A consumer credit reporting agency may verify your employment information.
- The employers listed on your application may verify your eligibility for employer-sponsored health plans.
- The State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, Peace Corps, U.S. Department of Defense (for TRICARE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Small Business Health Option Programs (SHOP) that operate in your state may verify your eligibility for and/or enrollment in health coverage programs.
You may decide to give permission to organizations or people who can communicate with the Marketplace about your application for such needs as resolving inconsistencies, or ensuring complete and accurate applications. Depending on your permission, they may include:
Each application filer confirms that he or she is authorized to share information for everyone on the application. That way, the Marketplace has permission to share your information with your application filer.
- Your authorized representatives
- Your chosen Marketplace-certified agent or broker, or the insurance company that issues your Marketplace health plan
- Your chosen Marketplace-certified assister (Navigator grantee, enrollment assistance contractor, or certified application counselor)
Once you select coverage, CMS will use your information for purposes such as:
- Notifying employers on your application if you’re eligible for certain insurance affordability programs (advance payment of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions).
- Transferring your enrollment information to the appropriate organization or agency. This might be the issuer of the Marketplace plan that you selected, or a Medicaid or CHIP agency.
- Making reports to the Internal Revenue Service about your enrollment in a qualified health plan through the Marketplace and about your eligibility for advance payment of the premium tax credit, cost-sharing reductions, and/or a certification of exemption from the individual responsibility requirement(s)
If you choose to submit an appeal, the information from your application and your appeal may be shared with federal and state agencies listed under #1 above to process your appeal.
When your state Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) transfers your health coverage application to the Marketplace, the Marketplace may share your information with enrollment assistance contractors or Marketplace-certified grantees working on behalf of the Marketplace to conduct outreach to offer help to you with next steps in completing your Marketplace application and enrolling in coverage.
To maintain Marketplace operation, CMS works with the following groups and may therefore share your information with:
- Contractors that perform functions for the Marketplace to accomplish the specific functions they’re engaged to perform.
- Other federal, state, or local government agencies to combat fraud, waste, and abuse and to respond to concerns about the security or confidentiality of information.
- Insurance companies that issue Marketplace plans and also the IRS, for the ongoing administration of advance payment of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, if applicable to you.
- Issuers of qualified health plans and states, if you complain to us about a qualified health plan or an issuer, to notify the issuers and state about the complaints.
Do I have to answer the questions on my Marketplace application?
You don’t have to give personally identifiable information (PII), including Social Security Numbers. However, if you don’t give this information, it may delay or prevent the Marketplace from performing all functions, like telling you about getting help paying for coverage, or determining your eligibility for benefits, programs or exemptions.
If you aren’t exempt from the shared responsibility payment and don’t maintain qualifying health coverage for 3 months or longer during the year, you may be subject to a penalty.
Be sure to provide correct information. Anyone who fails to provide correct information or who knowingly and willfully provides false or untrue information to the Marketplace may be subject to a penalty and other law enforcement action.
Do I have to provide Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for people listed on my application?
People who apply for health coverage need to provide an SSN if they have one. An application filer must also provide the SSN of any tax filer who isn’t applying for health coverage if the tax filer’s tax information will be used to verify the household’s eligibility for help with paying for health coverage. Other people not applying for health coverage are encouraged to provide their SSNs to speed up the application process, but aren’t required to provide one. We use SSNs to check income and other information to see who’s eligible for help with health coverage costs. If someone wants help getting an SSN, they can visit socialsecurity.gov, or call 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
Can people who aren't U.S. citizens apply for health coverage through the Marketplace?
Lawfully present immigrants can apply for health coverage. Applying or enrolling doesn’t make someone a “public charge”. This means it won’t affect their chances of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen. (Exception: People receiving long-term care in an institution at government expense, like in a nursing facility, may face barriers getting a green card).
Immigration information entered into the Marketplace will be used for administration of the Marketplace and insurance affordability programs only. People who aren’t applying for health coverage don’t need to provide their citizenship or immigration status.
What should I do if I think my eligibility results are wrong?
If you don’t agree with what you qualify for, in many cases you may be able to file an appeal.
You can appeal eligibility to buy Marketplace plans and also for enrollment periods. If you’re applying for help paying for coverage, you may also have the right to appeal eligibility for tax credits, cost-sharing reductions, Medicaid eligibility, and CHIP eligibility. If you qualify for tax credits or cost-sharing reductions, you can appeal the amount you’re eligible for.
Review your eligibility notice to find appeals instructions for each person in your household, including the number of days you have to file an appeal. Here’s important information to consider when filing an appeal:
- You can have someone file or participate in your appeal. That person can be a friend, relative, lawyer, or other person. Or, you can file and participate in your appeal on your own.
- If you file an appeal, you may be able to keep your eligibility for coverage while your appeal is pending.
- The outcome of an appeal could change the eligibility of other members of your household.
- Depending on your state and your eligibility results, you may be able to file an appeal through the Marketplace or you may have to file an appeal with your state Medicaid or CHIP agency.
To appeal your Marketplace eligibility results, you can mail an appeal form or your own letter to Health Insurance Marketplace, 465 Industrial Blvd, London, KY 40750-0061. For more information call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.
What are my rights regarding my information in the Marketplace?
- You, and people you give permission to, may see and request a copy of the personally identifiable information the Marketplace collects and maintains about you.
- You may question if the information CMS has about you is correct.
- You have the right to ask for an accounting of the entities or people to whom the Marketplace has disclosed your information.
- If you don’t understand the information on this page, you may contact the Marketplace for an explanation, and you can ask the Marketplace for a copy of this notice.