Tips about the Health Insurance Marketplace

If you haven’t applied for insurance on HealthCare.gov before, here's what you need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the health insurance "exchange").

1. 2019 Open Enrollment runs from November 1 through December 15, 2018

  • Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2019.
  • After December 15, you can enroll in 2019 health insurance only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

2. The Health Insurance Marketplace is for people who don’t have health coverage

If you don't have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.

  • If you have job-based insurance: You can buy a plan through the Marketplace, but you'll pay full price unless your employer's insurance doesn't meet certain standards. Most job-based plans do meet the standards.
  • If you have Medicare: You can't switch to Marketplace insurance, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan, or buy a Marketplace dental plan. Learn about Medicare and the Marketplace.

3. What you pay for insurance depends on your income

Your savings depend on your expected household income for the year.

Get a quick idea if you'll save. Based on your income estimate, we'll tell you if you qualify for:

A health insurance plan with savings based on your income

  • You may qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers your monthly insurance bill, and for extra savings on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.
  • The plans are offered by private insurance companies with a range of prices and features.

Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of people and families with limited income, disabilities, and some other situations.

4. You can apply for coverage 5 ways

Starting November 1, you can apply any way that works for you:

  • Online
  • By phone
  • With in-person help
  • Through an agent or broker
  • With a paper application

Use this checklist to gather what you’ll need to complete your application (PDF).