The Affordable Care Act included a provision to set up a public exchange in every state, run by either the state, HHS, or a collaboration between the two. The exchange itself (i.e., the marketplace where you shop for coverage) is government-run. But the health plans available for sale in the exchange are from private health insurance companies, many of which have been providing health insurance for decades.
There are 18 fully state-run marketplaces, three state-based marketplaces using HealthCare.gov, six state-federal partnership marketplaces, and 24 fully federally run marketplaces.
If you're self-employed, a broker can help you enroll through the exchange, giving you personalized help and recommendations, but also allowing you to get any Obamacare subsidies for which you're eligible.
Here's where you should look for help if have trouble enrolling through a health insurance marketplace – or if you have issues with your individual-market ACA-compliant health plan.
Sweeping health reform legislation delivered a long list of provisions focused on health insurance affordability, consumer protections.