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Insurance Marketplaces

Health insurance Marketplaces, also known as exchanges, are a key part of the health reform law.

A Marketplace is an online website set up in each state that allows people to enroll in a health insurance plan. You can compare health plans and prices in a Marketplace and find a plan that's right for you. You'll also be able to find out if you qualify for government subsidies to help pay for a plan's premium.

In a Marketplace you can also find out if you qualify for Medicaid or government programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Enrollment for insurance for the year 2014 began in the Marketplaces in the fall of 2013.

Preexisting Condition

"Preexisting condition" is a term you may have encountered when trying to get health insurance. It refers to a medical condition that you had before you tried to enroll in an insurance plan. Traditionally, preexisting conditions have been used by insurance companies as a reason to disallow coverage for that condition.

But the rules for preexisting conditions are changing. Since the passage of the health care reform law, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 because of preexisting conditions. Starting in 2014 the law will apply to adults as well.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

A PPO is a type of health plan that provides health care coverage through a network of providers. If you have a PPO, you likely will pay much less for medical service from in-network providers than for service from out-of-network providers.