Insurance marketplace opens today

Despite bitter opposition, the long anticipated insurance marketplace opens today. This comes more than three years after President Obama's Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

The healthcare exchange is a new way to find healthcare coverage. It can help if you don't have coverage now or if you have it, but want to look at other options.

The law requires all Americans to have health insurance, including plans offered by employers and government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, or pay a penalty.

Insurance plans in the marketplace are offered by private companies. The exchange will offer an average of 53 health plans from five different companies.

They cover the same essential health benefits and no plan can turn you away or charge you more because of an illness or medical condition.

While filling out a marketplace application, you can compare plans based on price and benefits. Plans will be presented in four categories- bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.

Bronze plans cost less, but individuals will have more out-of-pocket costs.

Open enrollment through the federally operated insurance exchange will continue for six months.

Coverage begins January first for those who sign-up by December 15th.

Questions? Call 1-800-318-2596.