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Health Insurance Marketplace

Health insurance marketplaces, also called health exchanges, are organizations set up to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in each state in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, known colloquially as "Obamacare"). Marketplaces provide a set of government-regulated and standardized health care plans from which individuals may purchase health insurance policies eligible for federal subsidies.

Health Insurance Marketplace, or ObamaCare Marketplace, is your State’s price comparison website for subsidized health insurance. The following guide will explain the marketplace and how you, your family, and your business can compare health plans and qualify for reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs on marketplace based coverage.

All ACA health exchanges were to be fully certified and operational by January 1, 2014, under federal law. Enrollment in the marketplaces started on October 1, 2013, and continued for six months. As of April 19, 2014, 8.02 million people had signed up through the health insurance marketplaces. An additional 4.8 million joined Medicaid. Enrollment for 2015 began November 15, 2014 and ended December 15, 2014.

Private non-ACA health care exchanges also exist in many states, responsible for enrolling 3 million people. These exchanges predate the Affordable Care Act and facilitate insurance plans for employees of small and medium size businesses.

Health Insurance Marketplace Facts Include:

  • Most Americans non-exempt will be required to have Health Coverage by 2014.
  •  You can't be turned down for coverage for a having a pre-existing condition.
  •  Premium costs are no longer based pre-existing conditions, health status, claims history, duration of coverage, gender, occupation, and small employer size and industry.
  •  The only factors that can affect premiums of New Insurance Plans starting in 2014 are your income, age, tobacco use, family size, geography and the type of plan you buy.  This applies to all plans sold through your State’s health insurance marketplace.
  •  The marketplace is open to all Americans, but no one is required to use it.
  •  You can compare competitively priced health plans through the marketplace to find the best deal for you, your family or your employees.
  • Individuals and families earning less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level can get cost assistance through the marketplace.
  • Small businesses with under 50 full-time equivalent employees can use a part of the marketplace called “the SHOP” (Small Business Health Options Program).
  • Small businesses with fewer than 25 full-time full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages below $50,000 can get tax credits to help pay for employee premiums through the SHOP.
  • ObamaCare’s first open enrollment in your State’s marketplace ran from October 1st, 2013 to March 31st, 2014. Open enrollment for 2015 runs from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th, 2015. There is an open enrollment period every year as well as special enrollment periods.

Your State's marketplace (AKA Exchange) is the official website for buying health insurance! The Marketplace opened October 1st, 2013 and closed March 31, 2013. All Americans had to obtain health insurance by January 1st, 2014 or pay a per month fee. However coverage gap exemptions technically gave you until May 1st, 2014 to be covered without owing the fee.


For more information about the Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance, call (312) 600-7084 to contact our health insurance specialist.

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