A health insurance marketplace, or “exchange,” is a website where health insurance companies come together to give you a place to shop for health insurance. Just like shopping for a flight on a travel website, you'll be able to see all of your options and prices in one place. That makes it easier to compare your options and find the best fit for your family's needs. You may qualify for financial help if you have a low or modest income.
Many states will offer their own health marketplaces. For states that don't offer one, you'll have access to a health insurance marketplace operated by the federal government. Beginning October 1, 2013, you can use the health insurance marketplace available to you to enroll in insurance that starts on January 1, 2014.
- You can choose from four metallic plan levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. One option isn't necessarily better than the other. Each plan type provides different levels of insurance, at different costs, to fit different needs.
- You can also choose from a variety of insurance companies. Each will offer its own price for a particular plan level. By shopping on a health insurance marketplace, it will be easy to see which company is offering you the best deal.
No matter which plan you choose, the new law requires that a core package of items and services is covered. That way you can rest assured that you will have insurance for the basics, also known as the “essential health benefits.”