If you’re one of the millions of Americans who doesn’t have health insurance—or if you purchase health insurance on your own or for your small business—you now have the chance to get quality care that you can afford.
- Millions of Americans will be eligible for financial assistance
- You can’t be denied coverage, no matter what
- Choose the plan that’s right for you
- Sign up any time between October 2013 and March 2014
How do I apply for Marketplace coverage?
You can apply for health coverage in the Marketplace 4 ways: with a paper application, online, by phone, or in person with an assister.
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Apply with a paper application
You can fill out a paper application and mail it in. You’ll find out whether you’re eligible for lower costs on private insurance, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Once you get your eligibility notice, you can either go online to compare, choose, and enroll in a plan or contact our call center. A customer service representative will help you.
If you or someone on your application are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, a representative will contact you to enroll.
Apply online in 4 steps
When you apply online, you’ll follow a 4-step process:
- Set up an account. Start by going to the Marketplace page. First you’ll provide some basic information. Then choose a user name, password, and security questions for added protection.
- Fill out the online application. You’ll provide information about you and your family, like income, household members, current health coverage information, and more. This will help the Marketplace find options that meet your needs.Important: If your household files more than one tax return, call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) before you start an application. This is a very important step. Please don’t skip it. Representatives can provide directions to make sure your application is processed correctly.
- Compare your options. You’ll be able to see all the options you qualify for, including private insurance plans and free and low-cost coverage throughMedicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Marketplace will tell you if you qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs on private insurance. You’ll see details on costs and benefits to help you choose a plan that’s right for you.
- Enroll. After you choose a plan, you can enroll online and decide how you pay your premiums to your insurance company. You must pay your premium by the date the insurer provides before your coverage can begin. Coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014. If you or a member of your family qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, a representative will contact you to enroll.
Learn what you can do to get ready to enroll. If you run a small business, here’s what you can do to get ready to offer coverage for your employees in the SHOP Marketplace.
If you have any questions, there’s plenty of live and online help along the way.
Apply by phone or with an in-person assister
- To apply by phone, call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). A customer service representative will work with you to complete the application and enrollment process.
- You can also apply with the help of an assister who can sit with you and help you fill out a paper or online application. Read the next section for more details.
Find in-person help
In all states, there are people trained and certified to help you understand your health coverage options and enroll in a Marketplace plan. They’re known by different names, depending on who provides the service and where they’re located. All can provide the help you need with your application and choices:
- Application assisters
- Certified application counselors
- Government agencies, such as State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Offices
Insurance agents and brokers can also help you with your application and choices.
Visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov to find help in your area. You can search by city and state or zip code to see a list of local organizations with contact information, office hours, and types of help offered, such as non-English language support, Medicaid or CHIP, and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
Before you apply, preview plans and estimated savings
Before you fill out a Marketplace application, you can do 2 things to learn your options:
- Use a cost and savings calculator to see if you may qualify for lower costs based on your household size and income.
- Preview plans and prices available in your area. Note: Premium amounts in this tool are only examples, based on a limited set of sample ages and scenarios. They may not fully reflect your individual situation. Actual plan pricing can change based on your household size, ages, and tobacco use, and your costs may be lower based on your income. You’ll get final quotes for specific plans based on your income and household after you complete a Marketplace application.
By using both the Kaiser calculator and the plans and prices tool together, you’ll be able to see the plans and full prices available to you, and find out whether you’ll qualify for lower costs.
If your income is too high to qualify for lower costs, there are 4 ways you can buy a health plan.
Small business coverage: If you own a small business and want to apply for SHOP coverage for your employees, you’ll follow a different process. Begin that process now. Select your state from the drop down menu. Then click the green button to take the next step.