What Is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Individual and Family

What Is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Published on March 29, 2018

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Some people are able to gain health insurance through their jobs. Others, such as those who are self-employed, often use health insurance marketplaces to enroll in a plan that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most health insurance marketplaces offer standardized access to various types of health insurance, including individual, family, and small business plans. Marketplace health insurance can be purchased on private or government-run sites. Licensed health insurance brokers often operate private marketplaces. Some states have their own government marketplaces, while most states rely on a marketplace operated by the federal government.

What is a health insurance marketplace?

As mentioned above, a health insurance marketplace is a website where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn more about available insurance plans before selecting the option that is best for their medical needs and budget. Through health insurance marketplaces, people can:

    • Ask questions and receive answers about health insurance plans from, sometimes with the assistance of navigators or licensed agents
    • Compare and contrast health insurance plans based on their features, affordability, and coverage
    • Discover if they (or their family members) are eligible for tax credits on private insurance or other health programs
    • Enroll in a major medical health insurance plan that is designed to meet your needs

Differences between a private health insurance marketplace and a government-run marketplace

Both private and government-run health insurance marketplaces are designed to help individuals more easily shop for, compare, and enroll in an affordable health insurance plan.
Contrary to popular belief, the federal marketplace known as Healthcare.gov is not the only health insurance marketplace. The federal government operates it; however, many states also run their own state-based health insurance marketplaces such as Covered CA in California. There are also private health insurance marketplaces that offer individuals, families, and small businesses a chance to find the ideal health insurance.  These private health insurance marketplaces sometimes have plans not available on the government-run marketplaces.  eHealth is one of these private health insurance marketplaces, where you can buy Obamacare plans and other health insurance products.

Buy family or individual health insurance on eHealth


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, established rules to regulate the American health insurance industry and encourage people without employer-based coverage to buy coverage on their own. With the so-called “individual mandate,” the Obamacare law requires most Americans to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. In late 2017, the penalty associated with the individual mandate was repealed. As such, the tax penalty for not being covered will be gone after 2018.
Though the price of Obamacare-compliant coverage is high, especially for those who do not qualify for government subsidies, there are coverage alternatives available that do not meet the requirements of the Obamacare law. eHealth is a private health insurance marketplace that is built to make purchasing Obamacare plans a breeze, but we also have alternative products and for those who do not qualify for or cannot afford to purchase Obamacare plans.
It is important to note that while Obamacare plans can be purchased on eHealth, the federal government makes the final determination on your eligibility for government subsidies designed to lower your monthly premiums. To get government subsidies for insurance premiums, you must go through a subsidy application process either on a government-run website or through a partner authorized by the government, such as eHealth.  eHealth partners with the federal-run marketplace to make government subsidies available to qualifying customers on eHealth’s website in most states.
eHealth offers a wide range of choices, licensed agents who are ready to answer all of your questions, and the ability to easily compare plans and premiums in minutes. Whether you want to know which health plans will cover your regular prescriptions, or you want to know what doctors will be in-network, eHealth is your one-stop-shop to finding the right health insurance for you and your family.

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