Health Insurance Marketplace
You can now apply and enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
Health coverage starts as early as January 1, 2014, and open enrollment ends on March 31, 2014.
Through the Marketplace, you can apply, compare all of your options, and find out if you can get lower costs on monthly premiums or get free or low-cost coverage. When you’re ready to enroll, you’ll decide how you pay your premiums or get help signing up for Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) if you’re eligible.
If you have Medicare, you can learn more here: Medicare & the Health Insurance Marketplace
Choosing a Plan
When you compare plans in the Marketplace, they’re put into 4 categories based on how you and the plan can expect to share the costs for health care:
The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescriptions. It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care. The categories don’t reflect the quality or amount of care the plans provide.
Balancing monthly premiums with out-of-pocket costs
As with all health plans, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium. But it’s also important to know how much you have to pay out-of-pocket for services when you get care.
- Premiums are usually higher for plans that pay more of your out-of-pocket medical costs when you get care. For example, if you have a Gold plan, you’ll likely pay a higher premium, but may have lower costs when you go to the doctor or use another medical service.
- With a Bronze plan, you’ll likely pay a lower premium, but pay a higher share of the costs when you get care.
- Platinum plans will likely have the highest monthly premiums and lowest out-of-pocket costs. The plan will pay more of the costs if you need a lot of medical care.
In general, when choosing your health plan keep this in mind: The lower the premium, the higher the out-of-pocket costs. The higher the premium, the lower the out-of-pocket costs.
Do you expect a lot of doctor visits or need regular prescriptions?
If you do, you may want a Gold or Platinum plan. They likely have higher premiums, but you could pay lower out-of-pocket costs for each visit, prescription, or other medical service. If you don’t, you may prefer a Bronze or Silver plan. Your monthly premiums will likely be lower, but you’ll likely pay more of the cost when you see a doctor.
You may be able to get lower costs on your health coverage
After you fill out a Marketplace application you’ll learn if you’re eligible for lower costs on your monthly premiums. Learn more about how to get lower costs in the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
What You Will Need to Apply
The Marketplace offers different types of health plans to meet a variety of needs and budgets. You’ll need to figure out how much you want to spend on health coverage each month. Most people using the Marketplace will qualify to save money. To find out how much you’re eligible for when you apply, it will help to have these things close by:
- Social Security numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
- Birth dates
- Pay stubs, W-2 forms, or “Wage and Tax Statements”
- Policy numbers for any current health insurance
- Information about any health insurance you or your family could get from your jobs
Get More Information
- Call 1-800-318-2596
- N.C. Marketplace In-Person Assistance will also be available by calling 1-855-733-3711