What’s the Marketplace, and how do I use it?

There are different kinds of Health Insurance Marketplaces, some for individuals and some for families.

There are different kinds of Health Insurance Marketplaces, some for individuals and some for families.

The Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as “the Marketplace” or “the Exchange”) is a service that helps people shop and enroll in health insurance. Some states will run their own Marketplaces, while others will use the National Marketplace (Healthcare.gov). Individuals and families can enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace, while small businesses can use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace.

When you’re purchasing health insurance through the Marketplace, you will provide income, medical and household information. You’ll find out if you qualify for tax credits that make the insurance more affordable, or if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in your state. The Marketplace works a lot like other price comparison websites, and you’ll be able to see details on costs and benefits that will help you choose the best plan for you or your family.

Marketplaces are open only during Open Enrollment, or for qualifying individuals during a special enrollment period. Shopping in the Marketplace is not the same as enrolling in a health plan. You’re free to shop around for plans through the Marketplace during Open Enrollment, before deciding on a plan for you or your family before the end of Open Enrollment.

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