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How to Shop the Health Insurance Marketplace

What is the Marketplace?

Health Insurance Marketplace, or Exchange, is an online shopping center based at It's the place to go to apply for coverage, see if you qualify for savings, and make changes to your health plan.

If your employer offers health insurance coverage, they may have a website where you can shop for plans. This is called "private exchange" and it differs from federal or state markets.

Marketplace allows you to find health care coverage that meets your needs and budget.

During the open enrollment period, you can view, compare, and present individual Cigna medical plans directly online through Cigna. You can also find out if you qualify for federal financial aid and apply for that help from your Cigna plan.

Who buys in the marketplace?

If you and your family don't have health insurance coverage through your job, you can choose a health plan from the marketplace and pay for it yourself. If you are self-employed or unemployed, the market is a place to go for health coverage. If your business offers health insurance coverage, you can still shop the Marketplace, but you will pay the full price of your plan. All people who shop in the health insurance market must be a US citizen and live in the United States. If you qualify for Medicare, you are not eligible to buy from the Marketplace. Incarcerated people are also not eligible.

When can I buy a plan on the Marketplace?

You can buy health insurance during the open or private enrollment period. The open enrollment period for 2020 begins on November 1, 2019 and ends on December 15, 2019. * The special enrollment period is open to individuals for 60 days after certain life changes, such as moving, getting married, or having a son.

What types of health insurance plans are there on the Marketplace?

There are four levels of health plans that you can buy on the market: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. ("Catastrophic" plans may be available to some people). Each tier pays a different portion of your health care bills.

You will also pay a portion of your health care expenses through your monthly premium, co-costs, deductibles, and coinsurance. The amount you pay depends on your plan.

The correct plan to choose depends on many factors, which differ from person to person.

Can I Get Federal Financial Aid?

Depending on your annual household income and the number of family members you have, you may be eligible for federal financial assistance to help you pay for health insurance. Financial assistance can lower the cost of your monthly premium, the amount you pay when you receive care, or both.