DEFINITION: An insurance exchange – or health insurance marketplace – is a key Obamacare provision created to provide a selection of competing providers, each offering different qualified health plans. These plans must meet standards set by the Affordable Care Act. Competition between plan providers would then encourage providers to improve the quality and pricing of offered plans.
Through the exchange – either federally or state operated – consumers can shop online for health insurance and determine whether they qualify for premium subsidies or cost-sharing subsidies. (Consumers can get purchase subsidized coverage only through the exchanges.