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Government Insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace

Health Insurance Marketplaces

State and Federal Health Insurance Marketplaces (also known as Exchanges) are aimed at providing a better consumer experience in obtaining quality affordable health insurance.  When applying at a federal or state Marketplace, your income is first evaluated for eligibility in the Medicaid program. If your income is higher than the Medicaid level, then you are evaluated for receiving a subsidy. Those who qualify will have federal government subsidies paid to their insurance company on their behalf throughout the year to make their insurance more affordable. If your income is too high for a subsidy, you can still apply for a Marketplace plan; that way if your income goes down during the year, you would then be able to access a government subsidy.

Advantages of the Health Insurance Marketplaces:

  • Easy way to shop and compare plans
  • Access to Tax Credits if you qualify
  • Access to Cost Sharing Reductions if you qualify
  • Access to apply and enroll online
  • Access to a selection of quality private health insurance plans
  • Access to Medicaid and other programs if you qualify
  • Minimum Essential Coverage – all plans meet the requirement by law to have a certain standard of health insurance so you won’t be subject to the tax penalty

Covered California – California’s Government Health Insurance Marketplace

Covered California is the name for California’s health insurance Marketplace.  It is also known as Obama Care California. California opted to provide a state exchange for its residents to gain access to affordable, quality health care that meets Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) required by law to avoid the tax penalty. Covered CA offers private health insurance plans and subsidies paid by the federal government to lower the cost of health insurance. Covered CA plans are the only plans where Californians can receive a tax credit for their health insurance. Depending on income, residents may qualify for extra subsidies in the form of cost sharing reductions which reduces out of pocket expenses. People applying through Covered CA will also be able to see if they qualify for other government assistance and programs such as Medi-Cal. Review Covered CA plans to explore plans and carriers offered, receive quotes and apply online.

Plans are offered on a federal level at the Federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov and on some state levels as well. If your state has chosen to operate its own health insurance exchange, then you must use your state’s Marketplace to apply. To find out if your state has its own Marketplace and where to apply, check out the Marketplace in your state