The Affordable Care Act established a Health Insurance Marketplace, which is designed to make buying health coverage easier and more affordable. The Marketplace will allow individuals and small businesses to compare health care plans, get answers to questions, find out if they are eligible for tax credits for private insurance or health programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and enroll in a health plan that meets their needs.
Open enrollment begins November 1, 2015 and goes through January 31, 2016 for coverage starting in 2016. If you do not enroll by January 31, you will not be able to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you meet the criteria for the Special Enrollment Period.
In the Marketplace information about prices and benefits will be written in simple language. You can get a clear picture of what premiums you'd pay and what benefits and protections you'd get before you enroll. Compare plans based on what's important to you, and choose the combination of price and coverage that fits your needs and budget.
Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies and cover the same core set of benefits called essential health benefits. No plan can turn you away or charge you more because you have an illness or medical condition. They must cover treatments for these conditions. Plans can't charge women more than men for the same plan.
You can apply for Marketplace coverage three ways: online, by mail, or in-person with the help of a Navigator or other qualified helper. Telephone help and online chat will be available around the clock to help you complete your application. Please note that large numbers of online visitors and phone calls may create lengthy wait times or slow down websites when the Marketplace first opens up November 1.
Questions? Call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or visit www.healthcare.gov/. You can also visit www.CuidadoDeSalud.gov for information in Spanish.
Looking for health insurance in your area? Click here for a handy tool that connects you to your local marketplace.
Here are five additional ways to connect with the Marketplace:
1.Sign up for email or text updates
2.Follow @HealthCareGov or @CuidadoDeSalud on Twitter
3. Join the conversation on HealthCare.gov on Facebook or CuidadoDeSalud.gov on Facebook
4. Watch and share videos about the Marketplace on HealthCare.gov on YouTube
5. Find tips for consumers and small businesses, top things to know about the Marketplace, frequently asked questions, and more on the Health Insurance Blog. Make comments to continue the discussion.
And here's some more helpful information:
How does the Affordable Care Act benefit women? Check out this video!
We've also compiled a list of helpful fact sheets about the ACA here.
Check out this handy tool at Putting Patients First that helps you understand out-of-pocket spending: Estimate My Costs
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has helpful information at Financial Help for Health about how you may be able to lower your health care costs.
Latest information in English and Spanish: From Coverage to Care Initiative