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Top three things you should know about buying affordable health insurance for 2023 and 2024
#1 – Open enrollment is underway.
Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (sometimes known as ACA or Obamacare) health coverage runs from November 1 through January 15 in most states.1
#2 – You might qualify to pay low- or $0- premiums.
During open enrollment for 2023 coverage, 90% of buyers had their premiums reduced by ACA subsidies.2 And the subsidies are larger than they used to be, due to the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act.2
Affordable Care Act coverage
Find out how the American Rescue Plan has cut marketplace insurance costs for millions of Americans, and how the Inflation Reduction Act extends that assistance through 2025.
Short-term limited duration coverage
Find out if short-term is right for you.
Hoping to improve your smile? Dental insurance may be a smart addition to your health coverage. Our guide explores dental coverage options.
Are you ready for the next ACA Marketplace open enrollment?
Individual health insurance: Is it right for you?
Right now, more Americans than ever are buying comprehensive Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant individual and family health insurance plans.5 The ACA created income-based subsidies to make these plans more affordable – or even zero-cost.6
And those subsidies are now more widely available as a result of the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act.7 ACA-compliant individual and family plans may be a good fit for people who are …
Frequently asked questions about individual health insurance plans
What are individual health insurance plans?
Individual health insurance plans are purchased by people who don’t have major medical coverage through an employer-sponsored health plan or a government health plan such as Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Tricare.
Since 2014, all ACA-compliant individual health insurance plans have been required to cover essential health benefits (outpatient care, emergency services, hospitalization, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehab services, lab services, preventive and wellness services, pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, and pediatric services) without annual or lifetime benefit caps, and they cover pre-existing conditions.8
How much can I expect to pay for individual and family health insurance?
What you pay for coverage depends on your age, income, where you live and whether you use tobacco. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, your medical history will not affect your premiums, and neither will your gender.
Keep in mind that many people do qualify for income-based premium subsidies that offset a significant portion of their monthly costs.9 Across the more than 14 million people who received premium subsidies in 2023, the average after-subsidy premium was about $124/month.9
Can health insurance that costs me less still provide comprehensive coverage?
Yes! The key is to understand that it’s income-based subsidies that keep the monthly premiums less expensive. You’re still buying ACA-compliant health coverage, but people who qualify for the subsidies do not have to pay the full premiums that go along with those plans.
Instead, many Marketplace enrollees are eligible for subsidies that can cover a significant portion of the premium! Just know that even if your after-subsidy portion of the premium is less expensive, the coverage itself is still robust.
Do I qualify for ACA (Obamacare) subsidies?
Your eligibility for premium tax credits is based on the relationship between your household income and the federal poverty guidelines.10 So your age, location, and income will all factor into determining your eligibility. But many Marketplace applicants will qualify for premium subsidies, and many also qualify for financial assistance to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.9
You can use our premium subsidy calculator to understand more about your subsidy eligibility. It only takes a few minutes and all you have to provide is your zip code, age, household size, and income.
When can I enroll in an ACA plan during the year?
You can enroll in an ACA-compliant individual or family health plan during open enrollment or during a special enrollment period. In most states, open enrollment runs from November 1 to January 15. Read our Guide to Open Enrollment.
Special enrollment periods can be available at any time of the year, and are generally linked to a specific qualifying life event, such as losing health coverage, having a baby, moving to a new area, or getting married. Read our Guide to Special Enrollment Periods.
But some people will find that they are eligible for enrollment year-round, simply due to their circumstances.
Do I qualify for Medicaid in my state?
Medicaid benefits and eligibility is different in every state. Click on your state on this map to learn more about eligibility rules where you live.
Learn more about the federal poverty level and how it’s used to determine your eligibility for Medicaid. Use our federal poverty level calculator.
Federal poverty level calculator
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Would ACA subsidies lower your health insurance premiums?
Obamacare subsidy calculator *
Estimated annual subsidy
Learn about health insurance options in your state
When it comes to health coverage, the state where you live impacts your options. We’ve been publishing state-by-state guides to health insurance for 25 years to help explain the variation in coverage options and how each state’s regulations affect benefits, costs and plan availability. Select your state from this list to learn more about health insurance options in your area:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
When it comes to health insurance, we’re the voice of experience.
Talking about health insurance since 1999.
We’ve been helping people understand and navigate the individual health insurance market since 1999. More than 2.6 million readers viewed our pages in 2022.
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Millions of users have utilized our Obamacare Subsidy Calculator and other resources.
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We vet our business partners carefully, so our readers can feel confident when comparing plans that range from individual and family, to dental and Medicare.
Experience with health reform.
Our insurance analysts have been analyzing health reform efforts – including the Affordable Care Act – since 2008.
- “What are the deadlines for the ACA’s open enrollment period?” healthinsurance.org February 23, 2023
- “Health Insurance Marketplaces 2023 Open Enrollment Report” CMS.gov, Accessed September, 2023
- “Unwinding the Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Provision: Projected Enrollment Effects and Policy Approaches” ASPE / HHS.gov, August 2022
- “Medicare Monthly Enrollment" CMS.gov, April 2023.
- “Biden-Harris Administration Announces Record-Breaking 16.3 Million People Signed Up for Health Care Coverage in ACA Marketplaces During 2022-2023 Open Enrollment Season” HHS.gov, Jan. 25, 2023
- “Access to Marketplace Plans with Low Premiums on the Federal Platform” ASPE / HHS.gov, March 29, 2021
- “Fact Sheet: What happens to premiums if the extra help from the American Rescue Plan expires?” HHS.gov, June 22,2022
- “Health insurance rights & protections” HealthCare.gov, Accessed August 2023
- “Effectuated Enrollment: Early 2023 Snapshot and Full Year 2022 Average” CMS.gov, March 15, 2023
- “Subsidized coverage” HealthCare.gov, Accessed August, 2023