The Marketplace simplifies your search for health coverage by gathering the options available in your area in one place. You can compare plans based on price, benefits, quality and other features important to you before you make a choice. Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies, and they cover the same core set of benefits called "essential health benefits".
There are four categories of Marketplace insurance plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The categories help you choose a plan that's right for you. The categories do not reflect the quality or amount of care the plans provide. The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription medications. It also affects your total out-of-pocket cost - the total amount you'll spend for the year if you need lots of care.
Note: The Marketplace also offers "catastrophic" plans to people under 30 years old and to some people with very low incomes.
Enrollment period: November 1, 2016 - Janurary 31, 2017
Coverage begins: As soon as January 1, 2017
Private insurance is coverage provided by an employer or purchased individually through a broker or agent.
Enrollment period: Varies depending on your employer or open year-round if purchased individually
Coverage begins: Effective date determined at enrollment
Source: https://www.healthcare.gov/ and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
What if I get health insurance through my employer?
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