The marketplace was designed for individuals who are buying their own insurance and who cannot get affordable coverage through their job or other sources. Small businesses also will be able to buy coverage for their employees through the marketplace. To be eligible to buy insurance in the marketplace, you must:
- Live in the marketplace service area (generally a state);
- Be a citizen or national of the United States or be lawfully present; and
- Not be in jail.
If you are uninsured, the marketplace is an online place for you to shop for plans and to see if you are eligible for tax credits toward your monthly premiums or other costs. If you have coverage through your employer, your parents’ plan (up to age 26), or on your own but want to switch, you also can shop in the marketplace. Even if you are already sick with a pre-existing condition, insurers cannot deny you coverage or charge you more because of your condition.
But not everyone will need to enroll. You may already be covered by a government insurance program like Medicare or Medicaid, or you might be happy with the plan you have, in which case you don’t have to buy anything new if you don’t want to.