Get Covered: A one-page guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace

Here’s a quick rundown on the most important things to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange.” Follow the links for more information on each topic.

The new Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured people find health coverage. When you fill out the Marketplace application we’ll tell you if you qualify for:

Private insurance plans. We’ll tell you whether you qualify for lower costs based on your household size and income. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care. If you don’t qualify for lower costs, you can still use the Marketplace to buy insurance at the standard price.Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs provide coverage to millions of families with limited income. If it looks like you qualify, we’ll share information with your state agency and they’ll contact you. Many but not all states are expanding Medicaid in 2014 to cover more people.

No matter what state you live in, you can use the Marketplace. Some states operate their own Marketplace. In some states, the Marketplace is run by the Federal government. Find the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state.

Most people must have health coverage in 2014 or pay a fee. If you don’t have coverage in 2014, you’ll have to pay a penalty of $95 per adult, $47.50 per child, or 1% of your income (whichever is higher). The fee increases every year. Some people may qualify for an exemption to this fee.

Kaiser Foundation: Premium Assistance for Coverage in Exchanges


About this Tool:

This tool illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”) created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning in October 2013, middle-income people under age 65, who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges.

Additionally, states have the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover all people making up to 138% of the federal poverty level (which is about $33,000 for a family of four). In states that opt out of expanding Medicaid, some people making below this amount will still be eligible for Medicaid, some will be eligible for subsidized coverage through Marketplaces, and others will not be eligible for subsidies.



Kaiser Foundation: Summary of the Affordable Care Act (PDF)

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law. The following summary of the law, and changes made to the law by subsequent legislation, focuses on provisions to expand coverage, control health care costs, and improve health care delivery system.

Seattle Times: 20 things to know about the Affordable Care Act


What do you need to know about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the health-reform law or the “federal health-care overhaul”?

It’s big, it’s far-reaching and, despite what you may have heard, it’s happening.

And it will change many things about the way you get health care, whether or not you are one of the more than 1 million state residents currently uninsured, many of whom may benefit directly.

U.S Dept. of Veterans Affairs - ACA and you


What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to coverage, control health care costs and improve health care quality and care coordination. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs. Three things you should know:

1 VA wants all Veterans to receive health care that improves their health and well-being.2 If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.3 If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.

Washington Post: Understanding the Affordable Care Act


To help readers understand and maneuver through Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act — the Washington Post has published a variety of consumer stories, FAQs, online chats and video segments.

WebMD: Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act


7 Surprising Things About the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, already has brought big changes to the U.S. health care system.

You may have gotten a refund check from your health insurance company, for example. Or maybe the last time you visited your doctor you weren’t charged for some preventive services like vaccines, certain cancer screening tests, and tests for heart disease and diabetes.

And more change is coming.

This fall, many people will start shopping for beefed-up health coverage through new online Marketplaces, also called Exchanges. The new policies will take effect in January, and people who don't have adequate insurance coverage in 2014 may face a penalty on the taxes they file in 2015.

Feeling lost about what all this means for you? A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that slightly more than half of all Americans (51%) say they're still not sure what the health care reform law means for them. About 4 in 10 people aren’t sure if the law is still in effect. (It is.)

If you count yourself among the confused, don't fret. This article covers seven surprising things you need to know about this brave new world of required health insurance coverage.