How To Get Insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace
Under the Affordable Care Act, you can compare and purchase an affordable policy. Here's what you need to know to navigate the online marketplace.
As of Oct. 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace (also called the exchange) has been open online at HealthCare.gov. The marketplace functions a lot like a web store like Amazon.com, except instead of comparing prices on vacuums, flat-screen TVs or books, you can compare insurance plans. Those who don't have insurance can visit and compare plans and purchase an affordable policy.
You can also buy insurance through the marketplace by mail or in-person at certain locations. There is a 24-hour phone line, an online chat service and trained "navigators" to help you get started, too. You'll fill out a simple form with information about your income and your family, and the system will automatically calculate if you're eligible for any discounts. You'll see the plans available for your area and prices that include all of the savings you're eligible for.
For instance, you can find out if you are eligible for a government program like Medicaid. And, if you appear to be eligible for MIChild, Michigan's low-cost insurance program for children living in low-income households, your application will be transmitted to the state for final eligibility determinations.
You can also go through a private insurance broker.
Preparing for the health insurance marketplace
Have the following information on hand to fill out your application on the Health Insurance Marketplace:
- Social Security Numbers
- Employer and income information for everyone in your family (for example, pay stubs or W-2 forms); you'll need to estimate your household income for 2014
- Information about any job-related health insurance available to your family
- Policy numbers for any current health insurance
AARP, American Public Health Association, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Consumer Reports, FAIR Health, Inc., HealthCare.gov, Internal Revenue Service, Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid.gov, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Every effort was made to provide clear, accurate information about health care reform. We verified any information we had with first-tier sources – those who are involved in this change and its effect on our health care system. We also relied on well-respected national nonprofits, some who've done a masterful job of providing clear information to consumers. Our primary source of information was the Affordable Care Act's official website, HealthCare.gov. If you need additional information about how health care reform affects you, that would be your best place to start.