Marketplaces and Consumers

How do I determine quality?

Infographic: Marketplaces


What is the Marketplace?

The Marketplace is a one-stop online shopping source for health insurance. Each state will have its own Marketplace for you to purchase health insurance.

What does this mean for me and my family?
This means you may be able to get health coverage that you could not get or afford before. The Health Insurance Marketplace requires plans to cover certain essential health benefits (such as doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization and prescriptions). Plans cannot deny you coverage or charge you more because of your health status or a pre-existing health condition (such as cancer or heart disease).

I don’t think I can afford health insurance.
The Marketplaces offer a new tax credit that can help you pay for health insurance, if you qualify. Most people who are uninsured today will be able to get some help paying. After you complete the Marketplace application, you will learn if you are eligible for this tax credit or for other benefits. You will also learn if you are eligible for free coverage or for low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Apply on your state Marketplace Web site to learn more.

How do I get insurance?
There are four steps to getting insurance through your state’s Marketplace: 

  • Step 1: Set up an account. 
  • Step 2: Fill out an application. 
  • Step 3: Compare health insurance plans. 
  • Step 4: Select and enroll in a plan.

Learn more about these steps at or visit your state Marketplace Web site to begin this process.

What happens after I apply?
After you apply, you will learn what health insurance options you quality for—private insurance or low-cost coverage in Medicaid or CHIP. According to the Web site, “the Marketplace will tell you if you qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs on deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. You’ll see details on costs and benefits before you choose a plan.”

Can I get help applying?
Each state has designated “navigators” that can help you through the application process. You can find this help by visiting your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace Web site. In addition, has resources available to help you, all day, every day.

How do I select a plan in my state?
Each state has set up its own Health Insurance Marketplace. has a complete list of states and links to corresponding web sites.


Marketplace Resources

Many government and nonprofit organizations provide resources for people who want to learn more about their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

  • The official government Web site can help you learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Get Covered America: A nonprofit, third-party Web site with information on the Marketplace and how to purchase health insurance.
  • Kaiser Health News: This non-profit news organization explains what you need to know about the new online marketplaces.
  • WebMD: A for-profit health resources site with information ranging from basic information to understanding costs to how to find your state marketplace.