Find your State's Official Health Insurance Marketplace. Apply today to compare health plans and see if you, your family, or your small business qualify for cost assistance.
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Voice your opinion on ObamaCare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) by creating or signing a petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov.
To sign up for ObamaCare find your State's health insurance marketplace, sign up, then enroll. Make sure to "sign up for ObamaCare" before mid-March. You have until March 31st at the latest to enroll in a plan to avoid owing the per-month fee for not having health insurance in 2014! Detailed directions for signing up and details on fees, exemptions and enrollment periods can be found below.
Anyone can sign up for ObamaCare's marketplace, but if you have access to insurance through your employer, qualify for Medicaid, CHIP or Medicare, or make over 400% of the Federal Poverty Level you won't have access to cost assistance like tax credits for lower premiums or cost assistance subsidies for lower out-of-pocket costs.
The final deadline to sign up for health insurance is March 31st, 2014. If you want to skip the details and sign up for the marketplace now find your state's marketplace before the next ObamaCare deadline starts.
As of February 26th over 4 million Americans have enrolled in private health plans through the State and Federal marketplaces and even more have enrolled in Medicaid. Don't wait until the last minute to sign up and enroll in a plan on your state's marketplace.
ObamaCare was signed into law in March of 2010. The marketplaces to buy subsidized private insurance opened on October 1st, 2013. The last date to enroll in a marketplace plan is March 31st, 2014. The law requires you to have insurance by 2014 or pay a per-month fee.
See below for details on exemptions and open enrollment periods.
Any legal citizen, who does not qualify for Medicare and who wants to purchase private insurance is eligible for the marketplace, however not everyone is eligible for subsidies. You can also sign up for Medicaid or CHIP through the marketplace. If you have employer based coverage you'll sign up through work and if you qualify for Medicare you must sign up for Medicare separately.
If you’re eligible for job-based insurance, you can consider switching to a Marketplace plan. But you won’t qualify for lower costs based on your income unless the job-based insurance don't pay at least 50% of your premium, is unaffordable (9.5% of family income for employee only insurance), or doesn’t meet minimum requirements (must be equivalent of a bronze plan sold on the marketplace). You also may lose any contribution your employer makes to your premiums.
You are considered covered if you have a private insurance plan (there are limitations), Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage. Otherwise you'll need to obtain coverage by April 1st, 2014.
Please see our ObamaCare exemptions page for a list of those who do not have to obtain coverage in 2014.
The initial enrollment deadline was December 24th, 2014. Moving forward if you sign up for coverage in the first half of the month your insurance will start on the 1st of the next month after you pay your premium. If you sign up during the second half of the month your coverage won't start until the second month. Get coverage that starts before April 1st, 2014 to avoid a per month fee in 2014.
If you miss open enrollment you won't be able to enroll in a marketplace plan again until November 15th, 2014 (open enrollment for 2015) unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.
There are a few important ObamaCare deadlines everyone needs to know. Here is a quick breakdown of important ObamaCare deadlines for signing up for health insurance.
• October 1st, 2013 - ObamaCare's health insurance marketplaces opened.
• December 24th, 2013 - The initial deadline to sign up for insurance that started as early as January 1st. In some States this deadline has been pushed further.
• January 1st, 2014 - A number of new benefits, rights and protections go into effect on all non-grandfathered insurance plans.
• January 1st to the 15th, 2013 - If you did sign up for insurance that started before January 1st, 2014 you'll have to pay your premium before the first cut of date. Many insurance companies are giving customers up until the 10th or 15th of the month to pay their first premium.
• The 15th of each month (ending March 31st, 2014) - You'll have to sign up for insurance by the 15th of each month to have insurance that starts the following month. If you sign up after the 15th, you'll be waiting an extra month for your insurance to kick in.
• March 15th, 2014 - You are allowed up to three months in a row without coverage in 2013 due to a "coverage gap" exemption (before you owe a per-month fee for not having coverage). You'll need to sign up for the marketplace by March 15th to meet this deadline.
• "Short Coverage Gap" Exemption(s) Update: Although the "short coverage gap" exemption allows you up to three months in a row without coverage in 2014, healthcare.gov has stated folks have until March 31st, 2014 to enroll in a marketplace plan and still avoid the fee (due to an additional exemption which covers April). So you could enroll on March 31st and have coverage that starts on May 1st and still avoid being responsibility for the shared responsibility payment.
• March 31st, 2014 - Open enrollment for 2014 ends on March 31st, 2014. You can still sign up for off-marketplace insurance or Medicaid after open enrollment. Medicaid can even start up to two months retroactively while private insurance typically starts on the 1st of the following month if purchased before the 15th.
• Certain life events like having a child or moving out of state can qualify you for a special enrollment period that allows you to purchase marketplace insurance outside of open enrollment with federal subsidies.
• November 1st, 2014 - Open enrollment for 2015 begins for both individuals and small business portions of the marketplace. Small businesses have been eligible for tax credits for insuring employees since 2010. This must be done with the aid of an agent using a paper form for 2010-2014. Tax credits are retroactive. Learn more about ObamaCare and small business.
• January 1st, 2015 - Large employers must start to offer health insurance to full-time employees. Learn more about the "employer mandate".
Make sure you have the following information about your and your family before visiting your State's Health Insurance Market Place
• Last years tax information for you and your family
• Projected incomes for this year
• Medical history - ObamaCare does away with pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination so these factors will no longer affect the cost of your insurance. Smoking, weight and age still all affect cost.
• Social Security Numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
• Employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage (for example, from pay stubs or W-2 forms—Wage and Tax Statements)
• Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household.
• A completed Employer Coverage Tool for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for. (You'll need to fill out this form even for coverage you're eligible for but don't enroll in.)
• Any other important information that could affect your health insurance premium or coverage options. Better safe than sorry!
Here is an example of the health insurance exchange application form for individuals.
Here is an example of the health insurance exchange application form for families.
Want more information on the marketplace and how to sign up? Check out our guide to the health insurance marketplace.
Obviously you can use your State's health insurance marketplace to sign up for private insurance, get access to subsidies, or apply for Medicaid or CHIP, but there are actually four ways to sign up including the website.
1) Find your State's marketplace website.
2) Get in person help. You can find in person help by going to LocalHelp.Healthcare.gov.
3) Call the 24/7 marketplace helpline 1-800-318-2596.
Here are the official directions for enrolling in a marketplace plan through healthcare.gov. Remember signing up is only step one, you still need to choose a plan and make sure your first payment is made to officially have coverage. State based marketplaces have very similar sign up and enrollment processes, the direction below are specifically for State's running a federal based marketplace (i.e. State's using healthcare.gov as their marketplace).
If you miss the deadline for ObamaCare you still have options for coverage including a special enrollment period and options for obtaining Medicaid, CHIP, or health coverage outside of the marketplace. Check out our breakdown of what to do if you miss the ObamaCare deadline.
Luckily under the Affordable Care Act you are allowed up to three month in a row without insurance in 2014 due to a "coverage gap" exemption, which avoids the fee for January through March. An additional exemption covers April, as those who sign up between March 15th and March 31st won't have coverage that starts until May 1st (insurance you buy after the 15th starts on the 1st of the month following the next).
As long as you enroll in a marketplace plan by March 31st, 2014 and sign up for coverage that starts by May 1st, 2014 you will be complying with the law and will avoid the fee for not having insurance (to understand exactly how exemptions work please check out our ObamaCare exemptions page).
Open enrollment in ObamaCare's marketplace goes from now until March 31st, 2014. Apply to the marketplace today and see if you qualify for subsidies. Insurance purchased through the marketplace before the 15th of each month starts on the 1st of the following month. Enroll in a plan by March 15th, 2014 for coverage that starts April 1st, 2014.
If you miss open enrollment you won't be able to enroll in a marketplace plan again until November 15th, 2014 (open enrollment for 2015) unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. Please note you can buy insurance outside of the marketplace at anytime or sign up for CHIP and Medicaid up to two months retroactively at anytime if you qualify. Medicare and employer based insurance both have their own special enrollment periods as well. Please note that even though you can obtain insurance outside of open enrollment it does not prevent you for owing the fee for months you don't have insurance.
Learn more about ObamaCare's open enrollment to understand when you can sign up for different types of health insurance.
Aside from the marketplace there are number of other options for getting coverage in 2014. Check out our guide to buying health insurance for 2014 to learn about more ways to sign up for insurance, you can also check out our guide to different types of plans sold on the health insurance marketplace.