This content was written by LessAccounting.com for small businesses and individuals in the hope of sharing information to help others make informed decisions about health insurance.

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What Are "Exchanges" or "Marketplaces"?

Healthcare.gov, Exchanges, Marketplaces... What are they for?

Health insurance marketplaces, also called Health Exchanges, are organizations set up to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in every state of the United States in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Marketplaces provide a set of government-regulated and standardized health care plans from which individuals may purchase health insurance eligible for federal subsidies.

What is Healthcare.gov?

Healthcare.gov is a healthcare exchange website created by and operated under the United States federal government as per the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, often referred to as 'Obamacare'), designed to serve the residents of the 36 U.S. states that opted not to create their own state-specific exchanges.

Things You Should Know About Healthcare.gov

  • You can't actually purchase health coverage on the website. The reality is when you're ready to buy, you're redirected to the appropriate insurance company's website where you purchase your plan direct from them. The real purpose of Healthcare.gov is to give you a clear and easy way to shop/compare healthcare plans.
  • The data shown on HealthCare.gov is open and available to anyone. We recommend checking out GoHealth.com, GetInsured.com and eHealthInsurance.com

What are State Exchanges?

While all insurance plans are offered by private companies, the Marketplace is run by either your state or the federal government.

What States Have Their Own Marketplaces?

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges by state
   Creating state-operated exchanges
   Establishing state-federal partnership exchanges
   Defaulting to federal exchange

CancerCenter.com made a great infograph on "What are health insurance marketplaces?"

Continue reading about Ways to Buy Insurance