Under President Obama’s new health care law, the way people purchase health insurance policies will change dramatically. Beginning in 2014, people in the United States will be able to shop for insurance policies using the Health Insurance Exchange, which is also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace. On the Health Insurance Exchange, you will be able to see all of the policies available to you, as well as any special programs you may qualify for under Obama Health Care.

How it Works

The Health Insurance Exchange will open to the public beginning October 1, 2013. However, the new health care law won’t allow plans to provide coverage until January 1, 2014. When the Exchange opens, you will be able to view all of your insurance options after completing one simple application. You can submit this application online, by mail or in person. If you need help completing your application, representatives will be available to assist you by telephone or via live chat.

What Options Will You See?

After you submit your application, you will see all private health insurance policies available to you, as well as whether or not you qualify for low cost or free health insurance through federal programs like Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Because of Obama Health Care changes, you may qualify for federal assistance in 2014 that you wouldn’t have qualified for previously.

According to HealthCare.gov, the federal government created the Health Insurance Marketplace to make it easier for consumers to compare various health insurance policies. Under Obama Care, all policies included in the exchange must offer the same basic coverage, including inpatient and outpatient services, preventative care, pediatric care, emergency services, prescription drugs, maternity and newborn care, mental health care and rehab. However, some plans may offer additional coverage, which you can view on the Exchange. You will also be able to compare deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and other plan features that may affect your decision.

Keep in mind that no insurance carrier featured on the Health Insurance Exchange will be able to refuse coverage to you because of a pre-existing condition, such as a chronic illness, nor will they be able to charge different premiums for the same plan based on your gender under Obama’s new health care law.

How Much Will it Cost?

When viewing your options on the Health Insurance Exchange, you will see how much each plan will cost you. Depending on the size of your family and your household income, you may qualify for lower monthly premiums and/or lower out-of-pocket expenses. Under Obama Care, taxpayers with incomes below a certain level will receive an advanced premium tax credit that can be used to lower the cost of the premiums up-front.

How Do I Access the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Under Obama Care, the can be operated by either the federal government or individual states. If your state is running the Health Insurance Marketplace for its residents, you will apply for health coverage directly through your state’s website. If your state is allowing the federal government to run its Health Insurance Exchange, however, you can apply for Obama Health Care coverage on