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Understanding Health Insurance

These resources are for anyone shopping (or helping someone shop) for health coverage within the health insurance marketplaces created through the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare).

In healthcare.gov states, the open enrollment period begins on Friday, November 1, 2019 and ends on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. State-run marketplaces in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island will hold longer open enrollment periods. Again this year, people in FEMA-declared disaster areas, including counties in North Carolina and South Carolina affected by Hurricane Dorian, can ask for more time to enroll.

Taking Stock and Taking Steps: A Report from the Field after the First Year of Marketplace Consumer Assistance under the ACA

This report summarizes experiences of Marketplace assistance programs as they helped consumers enroll in coverage during the first Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. Insights about what worked and where improvements could help are drawn from discussions of assisters and other experts who participated in a Consumer Assistance Roundtable, jointly sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in June, 2014.

What Worked and What’s Next? Strategies in Four States Leading ACA Enrollment Efforts

This brief highlights the experiences of four states—Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Washington—that established a State-based Marketplace (SBM), implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and achieved success enrolling eligible individuals into coverage. Based on interviews with key stakeholders in each state, it identifies effective strategies that contributed to enrollment and current priorities looking forward.

Profiles of Medicaid Outreach and Enrollment Strategies: The Cook County Early Expansion Initiative

The brief provides an overview of the Cook County, Illinois “CountyCare” early expansion waiver experience, which may help inform continued efforts as the Medicaid expansion is implemented across states. It finds that, in just over 12 months, more than 82,000 Cook County residents successfully enrolled in CountyCare coverage, allowing the state and county to get a significant jump start on the Medicaid expansion. Illinois implemented the full Medicaid expansion in January 2014 and automatically transitioned CountyCare enrollees to the expansion. As of March 2014, CountyCare members account for nearly half of the total statewide enrollment of adults into the Medicaid expansion.

Data Note: Gearing Up For Round 2 of Open Enrollment: Some Lessons From Round 1

As the second round of open enrollment approaches, policy makers, journalists, insurers and enrollment groups may want to keep in mind what health insurance shoppers told us about their experiences during the first open enrollment period. This data note examines selected findings from two Kaiser Family Foundation surveys that shed light on how people navigated the new options and choices available under the ACA during last fall’s open enrollment, with the hope of helping to inform our understanding of individuals needs during this second open enrollment period.

2015 Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs and Brokers

This nationwide survey analysis of Marketplace consumer assistance programs and brokers examines the nature of Marketplace assistance during the second open enrollment period for 2015 coverage, and offers unique insights into how Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation is progressing, what is changing, and what challenges remain. Building upon our Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs (2014), the analysis compares Assister Program capacity and experiences from the first open enrollment period to the next, and also includes the enrollment experience of brokers for the first time.

Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs

This survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation of Navigators and other Marketplace consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) offers a nationwide analysis of the number and distribution of assisters and people they helped. The report examines the experience of programs in conducting outreach and enrollment assistance during the first open enrollment period. It also reviews the nature of help consumers needed applying for Medicaid or premium tax credits and understanding health insurance choices, and discusses key factors that impacted the effectiveness of Marketplace Assister Programs.

FAQs: Health Insurance Marketplace and the ACA

This list of more than 300 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) covers the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance Marketplace (aka exchange), individual mandate, open enrollment, premiums and more. It provides answers to questions about specific groups, such as young adults, smokers, the uninsured, and non-traditional households.