Healthcare Exchanges 101 (Video Transcript)

If you’ve clicked on this video, then you probably have some questions about the new healthcare law, called the Affordable Care Act, and how it’s going to affect you and your family.

Under the new law, everyone who wants to buy health insurance will now be able to. Even if you have a pre-existing condition of have been denied coverage before, you’ll be eligible to get coverage.

For the vast majority of Americans who receive health insurance from an employer or through a spouse, almost nothing changes. If your employer offers insurance, all you need to do is signup during open enrollment and you’re covered.

Probably the biggest change is the requirement that everyone now needs to have or purchase health insurance. And if you choose not to buy coverage, the government will likely charge you a penalty.

For those of you who don’t have a job that offers healthcare benefits, you’ll need to purchase coverage through one of the new healthcare insurance exchanges. If you live in California, New York, or one of the other states that have their own exchanges, that’s where you’ll shop for coverage. If you don’t live in one of the states, you’ll need to use the federal exchange.

So how do the exchanges work? During the open enrollment period, all you have to do is fill out an application and wait for it to get processed to find out what you’re eligible for. For the application, you’ll need to enter some important information, such as your household income. Depending on your income level you may qualify for Medicaid, lower-cost insurance options, or some form of assistance.

Once your application is processed, you’ll learn what plans are available for you for as well as any financial assistance options. With both the state and federal exchanges, you’ll be able to shop for and compare plans that fit your budget.

If you’d like to learn more about the Affordable Care Act or shopping for insurance, take a look at the health insurance information we have here at Healthline or click over to the official US government site at


The Federal Health Insurance Exchange: Shopping for Coverage

Learn how the marketplace works, how to shop for plans, and what levels of insurance you can choose from.

How the Affordable Care Act Works

Learn who is eligible for coverage and what happens if you already have insurance.

Affordable Care Act: Key Dates

Learn how and when the most important parts of the healthcare reform are scheduled to take effect and what it means for consumers.