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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Covered California

Who Is the Marketplace for?

The Covered California health insurance Marketplace is where eligible residents can shop for and buy insurance in person, online, or by phone. In California, the Marketplace is run by the state government. The Marketplace, also called an Exchange, is mainly for people who:

  • Don’t have insurance
  • Aren’t insured by their employer
  • Don’t have Medicare
  • Aren’t included in their spouse’s employer insurance
  • Have pre-existing conditions and may have had trouble getting insurance before
  • Have private insurance but want to look at other options
  • Own a small business

The Affordable Care Act required most Americans to sign up for health insurance in 2014. Generally, you don't need to buy insurance through the Marketplace if you are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, or an employer-sponsored plan.

When You Can Enroll:  The next open enrollment period is Nov. 15, 2014, to Feb. 15, 2015. If you purchased insurance through CoveredCa and want to renew your plan for 2015, you could do that as of Oct. 15, 2014. Enroll online at CoveredCa.com or call 800-300-1506, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Fri and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat. You can also download an enrollment application at CoveredCa.com, or insurance brokers can help you enroll.

If you have a life-changing event -- such as the birth of a child, losing your job, or moving to a new state -- you don't have to wait for the next enrollment period. You can sign up or change coverage within 60 days of the event.

Plans and Costs

Getting Started: You’ll need to provide information about you and your family members when you apply. Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need:

  • Social Security number (or document number if you are a legal immigrant)
  • W-2 forms: Wage and tax statements or pay stubs for all employed members of the household.  For people who are self-employed or do not have a regular salary, include an estimate of household income.
  • Policy numbers of health insurance plans covering any members of the household
  • Immigration/citizenship status
  • Tobacco use
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