Individual insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace
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Also known as the health insurance exchange, this is a place
where you can shop for
individual insurance. This means that you’re getting
the insurance for yourself (and maybe your family or spouse),
rather than getting it through your employer.
You can access the Marketplace at Healthcare.gov. You can only
choose or change a plan during the
open enrollment period, which is going on right now.
Although December 15 is the last day to enroll for coverage
that starts on January 1, open enrollment extends until January
31. The only time you can buy health insurance outside of open
enrollment is if you have a qualifying life event, like
changing jobs, having a baby, getting married, or turning 26.
So how does the Marketplace work? You can file your
application over the phone, online, or in-person. Based
on your income, you might be eligible for something called an
advanced premium tax credit (APTC), which is
basically money that the government pays to help cover the cost
of your monthly health insurance premiums.
According to an HHS spokesperson, most people who use the
eligible for these tax credits — as long as your annual
income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line.
Currently, that’s between $11,880 and $47,520 for a single
person, and between $24,300 and $97,200 for a family of four
(find more info on that here.)
If you make above 400% of the federal poverty line, you will
not get a tax credit. If you make below 100% of the federal
poverty line, you may be eligible for Medicaid.