The Marketplace is your state’s website for price comparison of subsidized health care under ObamaCare.  The Health Insurance Marketplace is open each year during an annual open enrollment period. This is the only time application for cost assistance, enrolling in a plan, or to switch plans is allowed unless qualify for a special enrollment period. If you enroll during this time then you will avoid the fee every month for not having insurance.

Minimum Essential Coverage

To avoid a penalty payment, minimum essential coverage is required throughout the year. All coverage from the marketplace counts as minimum coverage.  Minimum Essential Coverage is required under the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.  All Government and most private insurances are included in essential minimum coverage.  Basically if you were allowed to hold on to your insurance, or if you bought medical insurance, or if you are covered through a public program or work, the you have minimum essential coverage. Here are a few examples of qualifying coverages:

  • Medicare Part A and Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Most Medicaid Coverage
  • Certain health coverage through the Veterans Administration
  • TRICARE
  • Self-funded coverage offered by universities to students.

Limited benefits such as only coverage for vision or dental care does not count as minimial essential coverage. Medicaid that covers only certain benefits like workers compensation, family planning, or disability also does not qualify. The following are health insurance that does not meet minimum essential coverage:

  • Short Term Health Plans
  • Supplemental Medicare/PartD/Medigap
  • Fixed Benefit Health Plans
  • Grandfathered Plans
  • Vision/Dental only plans

Some less common types of MEC are not listed here. A full list of what counts can be found from the IRS.