Why should I buy a plan in the marketplace?

  • If you qualify for financial help, you can only get it with a plan in the marketplace.
  • All marketplace plans must meet certain requirements, including important consumer protections, and all will count toward meeting the requirement to have coverage when you file taxes (i.e., won’t have to pay a penalty). That won’t necessarily be the case if you buy a plan outside the marketplace, so you will have to check for yourself on whether the plan is “minimum essential coverage.”
  • If you have a change in circumstances – for example, lose hours at work or get a pay cut – you may be able to qualify for a special enrollment opportunity to change plans and apply for financial help, but generally only if you are enrolled in a marketplace plan. If you have a plan you bought outside the marketplace, you’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment to apply for coverage.