Whether you are a business owner assembling a benefits package for your employees or an individual looking for personal health care, shopping for insurance can seem like a daunting task. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier if you could find a shopping mall just for insurance providers where you could shop around and compare benefits and prices. The Affordable Care Act brought a number of changes to health insurance in America. One of the changes that took effect in 2014 was the implementation of a health insurance marketplace. The health insurance marketplace is like your own virtual shopping mall for health insurance policies.

What is the health insurance marketplace?

The health insurance marketplace, sometimes known as the health insurance exchange, is an internet site that provides business owners looking for employee benefits or individuals looking for personal plans access to a number of insurance providers. The health insurance marketplace is set up by the federal government or the local state government and monitored to make sure the insurance providers on the health insurance marketplace adhere to ACA policies which can include allowing children with preexisting conditions coverage in their family’s plan.

Things to remember about the health insurance marketplace

  • Individuals covered by medicare are not eligible to buy insurance or supplemental coverage on the health insurance marketplace.
  • Individuals who qualify for Medicaid may be able to use the health insurance marketplace.
  • Personal policies on the health insurance marketplace are for individuals or families who are not insured elsewhere. Employers have their own health insurance marketplace where they can shop to find insurance for employee benefits packages.
  • Dental packages are optional on the health insurance marketplace, but you cannot purchase a dental package through the health insurance marketplace if you have not also signed up for a health plan on the health insurance marketplace.
  • There is a deadline each year for open enrollment in plans through the health insurance marketplace. Certain extenuating circumstances may make individuals or families eligible to sign up for a plan using the marketplace even after the deadline.