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What Is a Health Insurance Marketplace?

Photography of a smiling female doctor talking with a patient about health insurance coverage in her office.

If you’re in the market for health insurance, you probably have some questions. Many of those involve the health insurance marketplace. The health insurance marketplace has only been around since 2013, so it’s normal to have some questions. Once you learn more about it, you’ll be ready to shop for insurance and purchase a policy.

What Is Considered Marketplace Insurance?

You might find yourself asking, “Is the healthcare marketplace part of Obamacare?” Yes, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) created the health insurance marketplace. The marketplace is a spot for people to compare health insurance plans and purchase a policy. When you shop in the healthcare marketplace, you’ll also discover if you qualify for a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction.

The federal government is in charge of the marketplace in most states. However, some states have their own. For example, California’s marketplace is called Covered California. If you live there, that’s what you’ll use to buy insurance instead of the federal exchange. 

Do You Have to Pay Back Marketplace Insurance?

There’s been some confusion regarding premium tax credits for policies purchased on the health insurance marketplace. If you qualify, you can claim this income-based credit on your tax refund if you wish. However, you can have the insurance provider receive the credit directly during the year instead. That will reduce your insurance premiums. 

Because the credit is based on your income, you need to be as accurate as possible when estimating your earnings. If you underestimate your earnings, you’ll owe a balance when filing your taxes. That means you will have to pay back the amount that the government overpaid

Key Requirements and Guidelines

The health insurance plans available on the marketplace must meet certain guidelines. These plans have to cover people with preexisting conditions and provide preventative care free of charge. The plans cannot include yearly or lifetime dollar limits for essential healthcare benefits. Also, you don’t have to worry about your health insurance provider canceling your plan if you get sick.

How to Use the Health Insurance Marketplace

It’s easy to use the state and federal health insurance marketplace. You need to create an account to browse plans online, or you can call and speak to an agent. You’ll answer a few questions, and then you’ll see plans and premium estimates. 

Once you find a plan you like, you can apply online, in person, by mail, or by phone. Many agree that doing it by phone is the easiest option. That way, they can discuss their selection with a licensed insurance agent. 

Keep in mind that you need to enroll during open enrollment unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. 

Choosing Health Insurance

Because you can only change health insurance plans during open or special enrollment periods, you need to select wisely. Get help from a licensed insurance agent. The agent will go over your needs and then provide you with quotes. You can compare plans and then make a decision. With the help of a licensed insurance agent, you will get the coverage you need. 

Get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected if you become sick or injured by signing up for a health insurance plan through Freeway Insurance. 

If you live in an open enrollment state, find an affordable health care plan that fits your needs and budget through Freeway Insurance. Get a free health insurance quote online or give us a call to get started.

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