A quick guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace

4 tips about the Health Insurance Marketplace

Still need 2016 health coverage?

Open Enrollment for 2016 insurance is over. You can sign up for a 2017 health plan starting November 1, 2016, with coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2017.

If you still need health insurance coverage for the rest of 2016, you can get it only 2 ways:

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" or “Obamacare exchange”).

You can apply for 2017 coverage as soon as Novmeber 1, 2016. See all dates and deadlines.

1. 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 coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.

2. What you pay for insurance depends on your income – and you’ll probably save

Your savings depend on your estimate of your expected income for the coverage year. This year, about 8 in 10 of the uninsured who are eligible for Marketplace coverage qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of their monthly premiums. Get a quick idea if your expected income is in the range to save.

Based on the income estimate you put on your application, we’ll tell you if you qualify for one of these:

A health insurance plan with savings

Most people who apply qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers their monthly insurance bill. Some also save on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.

The plans are offered by private insurance companies with a range of prices and features. All plans cover:

You can add dental to a health plan, but you don’t have to. You can’t buy a dental plan unless you enroll in a health plan.

Medicaid and 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.

3. You can apply for coverage 4 ways

You can apply for health insurance any way that works for you:

4. If you don’t have health insurance, you may have to pay a fee

Most people must have qualifying health coverage or pay a fee with their federal taxes.

  • If you don’t have coverage in 2016, you’ll pay a penalty of either 2.5% of your income, or $695 per adult ($347.50 per child) — whichever is higher. The fee rises with inflation in future years. Final 2017 amounts will be published when available. Learn about the fee.
  • In some cases, you might qualify for an exemption from the requirement to have health insurance.