March 2022

A health insurance marketplace is a place where you can shop and sign up for affordable health insurance plans. A marketplace is sometimes called “the exchange.” Marketplaces sell health insurance policies that may be subsidized by the federal government, depending on your income and family size. If you qualify for a subsidized plan, your costs for health insurance premiums will be reduced.

Are all health insurance marketplaces run by the government?

No. Both the government and private companies run health insurance marketplaces. There are three types of marketplaces:

  1. State government marketplaces. Depending upon where you live, your state may run a health insurance marketplace.
  2. Federal government marketplace.  Not all states have their own marketplace.  People who live in states that do not have a marketplace can use the federal government’s health insurance marketplace.
  3. Private marketplaces. Private health insurance exchanges like eHealth offer a convenient way for people from all states to buy marketplace and alternative health insurance plans.  If you choose to get an ACA plan from eHealth, it will include the same essential Obamacare benefits you would get on a state or federal health insurance marketplace. If you are entitled to federal subsidies, you will get the same amount of subsidies when purchasing insurance on the private marketplaces as you would on the government marketplaces.

Keep reading to learn about more differences between private exchanges like eHealth and the government Marketplace.

Who can buy health insurance through the marketplace?

In order to buy a marketplace health insurance plan, you must:

  1. Live in the United States.
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or national.
  3. Not be incarcerated.
  4. Not be covered by Medicare.

Is it cheaper to buy a health insurance marketplace plan on a state exchange, the federal exchange, or through a private exchange?

You will always pay the same price for a marketplace plan no matter where you buy it. Your premiums and any subsidies you are eligible for will be identical on the federal and state exchanges and on private sites like eHealth.
Note that different people may pay different prices for their marketplace plans. That’s because premiums will vary based on your state, income, and household size. However, the price that you pay will not change from one site to another. You can be confident that you are not going to get a better price somewhere else for the same exact plan, so you can relax, and avoid hopping around to too many sources.

Where can I get a plan that covers all the essential benefits of Obamacare?

Places you can find health insurance plans that cover the essential benefits of the ACA (Affordable Care Act), more commonly known as Obamacare:

  • The federal Marketplace
  • State marketplaces (if the state you reside in runs its own health insurance marketplace)
  • eHealth

The convenient part about eHealth is that you won’t only find ACA-compliant health insurance, but also alternative plans that may work for your health care needs better. And you can look at all the health plan option in one place, quickly comparing different plans with our free quotes.

Are Obamacare plans sold on eHealth different?

If you choose an Obamacare (ACA) health plan from eHealth, it will have the same bells and whistles as plans bought on the federal and state exchanges. You will also still be able to qualify for a government subsidy when you buy an ACA health plan on eHealth. If you end up finding out that you don’t qualify for an Obamacare subsidy, you’ll be able to quickly look at affordable off-exchange options that eHealth offers. You may find that an off-exchange health plan actually works for your situation a lot better.

Do I have to get my plan through the health insurance marketplace?

If you want to apply for government subsidies, you do need to enroll in a plan on a state, federal, or private health insurance marketplace like eHealth that has a direct enrollment agreement with CMS. However, not everyone wants to get a marketplace plan. For example, you might not qualify for government subsidies, or you might find that a non-exchange plan better suits your needs.
If you go to a state or the federal health insurance marketplace, you will see only the exchange plans. However, on eHealth, you will see both on-exchange and off-exchange plans. In many cases, that means you will have a choice of more plans on eHealth than you would on a government health insurance marketplace.
The convenience and large selection you’ll find on eHealth makes shopping for health insurance much easier. You will be able to compare the costs and benefits of on-exchange and off-exchange plans at the same time, all in one place. This eliminates the hassle and frustrations of trying to compare plans on different sites. Visit eHealth to start learning more about health insurance and getting quotes on quality health insurance plans in your area.