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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

You have questions. We have answers.

This is healthcare made simple.

Q: Who is HealthCare.com?

A: HealthCare.com is the nation’s leading, privately funded, unbiased search engine and comparison tool for health insurance, offering virtually all state-based exchange healthcare plans, federal exchange healthcare plans and many private, off-exchange plans. Using powerful proprietary technology and tools, HealthCare.com helps consumers compare costs and calculate their Obamacare tax subsidy for free, and enables them to purchase their health insurance plan online, over the phone with a licensed advisor, or in person with a local agent.

Q: What does HealthCare.com do?

A: HealthCare.com helps consumers make better choices about their healthcare plans by giving them access to comprehensive, unbiased information. HealthCare.com doesn’t care which plan consumers choose, so long as it’s the right plan for them. So you can anonymously enter basic information about yourself and your family. From there, you are presented with a variety of plans that might fit your particular budget and lifestyle. There are online calculators and shopping tools to help make choosing a plan easier and more efficient. You can compare costs and subsidies for free. And when you’re ready, you can purchase a health insurance plan online, over the phone with a licensed agent, or in person with the help of a local agent.

Q: How many customers do you serve?

Roughly one million customers a month visit HealthCare.com. Many customers simply use our site tp anonymously get information on health insurance prices and plans. That’s great! Some will ask us to help them connect with a licensed agent to take the next step to buy a health plan. Not everyone who visits our sites takes action to buy a plan, but many do.

Q: Does HealthCare.com sell health insurance?

A: No. HealthCare.com is a search engine and comparison tool that gives you a multitude of health insurance options to review and research, and then connects you with one of our licensed insurance partners to help you enroll in a healthcare plan.

Q: I don’t want to give you my personal information.

A: That’s good news! HealthCare.com does not require you to provide your name, address or any personal information to run a quote. You can browse our website anonymously. If you wish to create an account to save your information, all we need is an email address.

Q: What are your tips for people shopping for health insurance for the first time?

A: First and foremost, you are in charge. There are five things to consider when shopping for a plan:

  1. Price – how much does it cost?
  2. Plan – what does it cover?
  3. Providers – Which doctors are included in the network?
  4. Personal Lifestyle – how often are you likely to use your plan?
  5. Household Income – are you eligible for a subsidy?

Each year, during open enrollment, you can shop for a new healthcare plan. You can also shop year-round if you have lifestyle changes, call a “qualified life event.” These qualifying events include things like getting married, having a new baby or adopting a baby, moving to a new state or getting a new job that doesn’t provide health insurance as an employee benefit.

Q: What are the metal levels that I keep hearing about?

A: The healthcare law ushered in new terms to make the insurance buying process easier. Why? The average person has 30-40 health insurance plans to choose from.

So here are some ways to compare the different types of Obamacare health coverage, called “metal” plans. Think of it like the winners in the Olympics:

Bronze plans cost less because you pay more out-of-pocket for healthcare costs. Platinum plans cost more, but you will pay less out-of-pocket for medical bills. This is where it’s smart to do the math and figure our how much you spend on healthcare every year before deciding on a health insurance plan solely on price.

Q: What are the main things I need to think about when I start my search?

A: There is a balance between cost and medical needs you need to consider when you begin shopping for health insurance. Are you young and healthy? A lower cost bronze plan might be the right solution because you’re only going to use preventive services throughout the year that are already covered by your insurance company. Do you have a medical condition or take prescription drugs? A richer plan with a lower deductible, smaller office visit copayments and a robust prescription drug plan might be a better fit for you. That’s why it’s so important to shop around and figure out which option is best for you!

Q: What is Obamacare?

A: Obamacare is another, more commonly known name for the Affordable Care Act, which was healthcare reform legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. The intent of Obamacare was to provide affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans who purchase healthcare plans on their own. With the help of tax subsidies, individuals and families can receive financial assistance to help pay for their health insurance plan, based on income. If they choose not to purchase an Obamacare plan, they will be penalized on their income taxes for not having health insurance and will be required to pay a set dollar amount or percentage of their income, whichever is higher.

Q: Why do I have to buy health insurance?

A: As part of the Affordable Care Act, all Americans are required to purchase health insurance. The requirement helps keep the overall pool of insured individuals more even. If many sick people are covered with an Obamacare plan, the healthy people in the same pool help balance costs. The more people covered by Obamacare, the more stable costs remain. If you choose not to have health insurance, you must pay a flat rate fine or a percentage of your income, whichever is greater, when you file your income taxes. You can calculate your fine using this Obamacare Tax Penalty Calculator.

Q: What is a tax subsidy?

A: Americans who fall between the 100 and 400 percent federal poverty line are eligible for a tax subsidy on their health insurance (the low end of the poverty line is 134 percent in certain states). What does that mean? In a nutshell, the federal government will give you financial assistance on your monthly health insurance costs. This is not a loan. If you meet the financial qualifications, you are eligible to receive a break on your monthly health insurance premium. To find out an estimate on your eligibility, check out this Obamacare tax credit subsidy calculator.

Q: What is a tax penalty?

A: If you decide not to purchase a healthcare plan, you will owe a fee for failing to comply with the healthcare law. It is your choice. The fine for 2016 is $325 per adult, $162.50 per child or 2.5% of your income, whichever is greater. This penalty also applies if you have health insurance coverage for less than nine months of the year. For example, if you have health insurance coverage through an employer and lose your job in June, you must get health insurance within three months of losing coverage or you will be responsible for paying the fee. Calculate your tax subsidy fee in less than one minute.

Q: When can I buy health insurance?

A: Health insurance must be purchased during the open enrollment period. For 2017 coverage the open enrollment period will run between November 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017. If you fail to enroll during this open enrollment period, you can only gain access to health insurance coverage if you have a special life event that qualifies you for the Special open enrollment period.

Q: What is the special open enrollment period?

A: The special open enrollment period is available to individuals and families who have a qualifying life event occur during the course of the year that makes them eligible to purchase a health insurance plan or change their current healthcare coverage outside of the standard open enrollment period. Life situations that qualify for the special open enrollment period include getting married, divorced, losing your job, losing COBRA coverage, having a baby, adopting a child, getting released from prison, etc.