Health insurance marketplaces or health exchanges are organizations set up to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in each state in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Exchanges provide a set of government-regulated and standardized health care plans from which individuals may purchase health insurance policies eligible for federal subsidies.
All health exchanges were to be fully certified and operational by January 1, 2014, under federal law. Enrollment in the marketplaces started on October 1, 2013. For coverage starting in 2015, the proposed Open Enrollment Period is November 15, 2014–February 15, 2015. Individuals may also qualify for Special Enrollment Periods outside of Open Enrollment if they experience certain events.
As of April 19, 2014, 8.02 million people had signed up through the health insurance marketplaces. An additional 4.8 million joined Medicaid plans.
State Exchanges: The Affordable Care Act requires every state to offer an exchange to its residents. States have a few options:
- A state can choose to create and run its own exchange.
- If a state decides not to run its own exchange, residents of that state can shop on an exchange that will be run by the federal government.
- A state can partner with the federal government. In a partnership model, the state and federal government share responsibility for operating that state’s exchange.
The Health Insurance Marketplace for states not running their own exchange is www.healthcare.gov.
The following states have Health Insurance Marketplaces with their own their own unique name:
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