The Health Insurance Marketplace: What You Need to Know

Posted December 4, 2013

Since it launched in October, we have made dramatic improvements to HealthCare.gov, taking it from a system that didn’t perform nearly as well as it should, to one that can help you learn about your new health insurance options, create an account, learn about financial help you may be able to receive, compare your options and select a plan.   If you’ve tried HealthCare.gov and been unsatisfied with your experience, or if you’ve been wondering if you’re eligible for a more affordable option under the health care law, here are some tips for you.  Remember, you MUST enroll in a plan by December 23, and pay your premium, to get coverage on January 1, 2014.   

Haven’t tried yet?  Review your options.

See Plans Before I ApplyWe have added a new feature to healthcare.gov that lets you “window shop” for the types of coverage as well as discounts on premiums and other costs that might be available to you.  Log on to healthcare.gov and click “See Plans.”  You’ll only need to answer a few simple questions to see detailed information about each Marketplace health insurance plan offered in your state – before you apply.  Using this new tool you can compare plans, understand covered benefits, review physician and hospital networks, and more – before you login or complete an application.

Tried HealthCare.gov and had problems? Try these tips.

Remove ButtonIf you’ve tried Healthcare.gov – especially in October or early November – and your application seems stuck or you can’t move forward, try starting the process again.  First, log in to your account, select the application in progress and hit “remove.” Then close and re-open your web browser.  Log back into your Healthcare.gov account and start a new application.  Having trouble?  Call our Customer Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. 

Filled out a paper application? Take the next steps to enroll.

If you filled out a paper application, call our Customer Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to get your application ID number and find out if your eligibility determination has been made. You can use this information after you create an account on HealthCare.gov to review plans and enroll. Or you can finish the process on the phone or with in-person assistance in your local community (visit Find Local Help to find a trained assistor).

Did you pay your premium?  Don’t forget the final step!

Plan Select Enrollment to do listNo matter how you apply for coverage and select a plan through the Marketplace, you need to pay your premium on or before December 31, 2013 in order to have coverage by January 1, 2014.  Although you compare and choose a plan using the Health Insurance Marketplace, once you select a plan, you must pay your premium to the insurance company directly – not to the Health Insurance Marketplace.  If you select a plan on Healthcare.gov, you will see an orange message indicating you must make payment to be covered on January 1.  Insurers handle payment differently, so follow the instructions from the insurer you select about what forms of payment are accepted and the due date of your first premium – which will be on or before December 31, 2013, depending on the plan you choose.  

Not sure if you’ve fully completed the process?  Call the health plan you chose. 

If you aren’t sure if you’ve finished the process and enrolled in the plan of your choice, call your insurance company.  They can confirm that you have paid your first month’s premium and you are enrolled.  They will also send you plan information and insurance card.   If you’re having trouble, call our Customer Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. 

Call numberThere are many ways to enroll.  Get help online, on the phone, or in person.

You can get help where and when you need it – on Healthcare.gov, by phone or in person.  You can also use more than one of these tools to enroll.  For example, you can start an application online and then call our Customer Call Center 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1 855-889-4325) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get help enrolling over the phone.   Or, you can also find in–person help from certified assisters in your area. Just enter your zip code to get started.