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 2021, HealthCare.gov and all state-run Marketplaces have extended the enrollment period to make it easier for people to sign up for coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this extended enrollment period, uninsured people can sign up, and people already enrolled in the Marketplace have an opportunity to change plans. Even though this extended COVID enrollment period is sometimes referred to as a “special” enrollment period, you do not need to have a qualifying event (such as loss of other health coverage) to sign up during this time.

The extended enrollment period in HealthCare.gov states runs from February 15 – May 15, 2021; enrollment dates may vary for state-run marketplaces.

Find Answers to 300 FAQs About Health Coverage

What is the health insurance marketplace? Am I required to buy health insurance? Get detailed answers to these and many more of your questions about the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces.

Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator

Use this tool to estimate what your premiums and tax credits for 2020 Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage could be based on your zip code, income, family size and age.

ACA Open Enrollment: If You Shop on Private Websites Instead of HealthCare.gov

A short fact sheet provides information about using “direct enrollment” websites to enroll in Marketplace health plans.

ACA Open Enrollment: If You Buy Coverage in the Individual Market

Learn about ACA open enrollment and the basics of marketplace plans, including who’s covered and where you can sign up.

ACA Open Enrollment: For Consumers Considering Short-Term Policies

Information about short-term health insurance policies, which offer health coverage for less than one year, and how they differ from ACA-compliant plans.

ACA Open Enrollment: If You Are Low-Income

A look at the possible coverage options for low-income consumers, including Medicaid and ACA marketplace plans.

Video: Improve Your Health Insurance Literacy

In this animated video, the YouToons break down important insurance concepts, such as premiums, deductibles and provider networks.

Health Coverage, HIV & You

People with HIV cannot be denied or charged more for health insurance. Explore coverage options in your state and learn more about paying for PrEP in the ACA marketplace.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.