Program Description

The Health Insurance Marketplace helps you find health coverage that fits your needs and budget. Every health plan in the Marketplace offers the same set of essential health benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization, prescriptions, and more. You can compare plans based on price, benefits, quality, and other features important to you before you make a choice.

With one application, you’ll see if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or for savings on a Marketplace plan. Most people who apply will qualify for some kind of savings.

Every person in the U.S. must have minimum health coverage or pay a fee.

General Program Requirements

To be eligible to use the Health Insurance Marketplace, you:

  • Must live in the United States
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or national (or be lawfully present)
  • Can't be incarcerated

No matter what state you live in, you can use the Marketplace. Some states operate their own Marketplace.  In other states, the Marketplace is run by the federal government.

Get a quick Marketplace overview on the "A quick guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace" page to help you apply.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

The 2017 Open Enrollment Period is November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 to enroll in a Marketplace plan. You can enroll in Medicaid or CHIP at anytime.

Starting November 1, 2016, you can apply for a 2017 Marketplace plan online, by phone, with a paper application, or with the help of a trained assister in your community. Learn more about applying on the How to apply & enroll page.

Some people may qualify for Special Enrollment Periods, which allow them to enroll in a Marketplace plan outside of Open Enrollment if they have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby, or losing other coverage.

Program Contact Information

For more information, visit or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Try using our Benefit Finder questionnaire to view a list of benefit programs you may be eligible to receive.