One of the objectives of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to expand health care coverage in the United States. To achieve that objective, the ACA requires all US citizens and legal residents to obtain health insurance. Unless otherwise exempt, all Americans and legal residents are now required to obtain health care coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014 or be subject to a tax penalty. The ACA also established new Health Insurance Marketplaces and expanded Medicaid, our nation’s health care program for the poor.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed to make it easier for consumers to purchase health insurance and was created as a one-stop shop where individuals and families can shop for and purchase affordable health care coverage. Open enrollment to obtain health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins on Nov. 15, 2014 and will run through Feb. 15, 2015. Those who do not obtain coverage during this time will not be able to purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace until the next open enrollment period, unless there is a qualifying event (marriage, birth of a child, etc.).
Through the Marketplace, consumers can compare plans based on price, benefits, quality and other features before making a choice. Consumers who purchase coverage through the Marketplace may be eligible to receive federal subsidies to make the insurance premiums more affordable. Visit the HealthCare.gov website to find out if you qualify for a subsidy.
You can also visit HealthCare.gov for more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace and how to obtain affordable health care insurance.