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  • Qualifying for Obamacare means what qualifications you or your family need to meet before you can buy health insurance from the marketplace
  • Open Enrollment Period is the time of the year you can enroll and buy a health insurance plan from your state’s marketplace
  • Special Enrollment Period is the time of year you can enroll and buy a health insurance plan from your state’s marketplace outside of the Open Enrollment Period, especially if you have had a life change


Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, created health insurance marketplaces for most states. A state marketplace is where you can buy health insurance if you don’t have an employer-provided plan.

Check out qualifying health insurance quotes for free by entering your zip on our site after you read the article!

Qualifying for Obamacare


The first thing to check is whether your state has a health insurance marketplace. To find out if it does, go to Healthcare.gov and select Get Coverage. Pick your state and it will either say “VISIT YOUR STATE MARKETPLACE” or “CONTINUE.”

If it says “VISIT YOUR STATE MARKETPLACE,” then your state has a health insurance marketplace. Click on the button and then click on Apply for Coverage. This is where you would see if you qualify. There are at least four factors that will affect your eligibility under Obamacare:

  • Income
  • Availability of employer-provided coverage
  • Family size
  • Location

Income affects how much, if any, of The Premium Tax Credit you qualify for. The credit is based on your income, your family size, and location. This tax credit can cover a portion of your premium costs for every month.

But if you’re income is too low to purchase any insurance from the marketplace or if you’re turning 65 this year, you can qualify for special programs such as Medicare or Medicaid and CHIP.

If you have an existing COBRA plan, it will affect your eligibility.

If the insurance plan offered by your employer meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, then you can’t purchase insurance from your state’s marketplace.

Location can also affect your premium rates. Rates can even vary among zip codes. For example, if you live in a higher socioeconomic neighborhood, your premium rates will differ from those who live in lower income areas.

Open Enrollment Period

The Open Enrollment Period of when you can buy purchase under Obamacare is from November 1st to January 31st. This is the time of when you can check your eligibility and enroll in an insurance plan under Obamacare.

If you’re already enrolled, then this is a time when you can change your insurance. This is helpful if you found your existing plan had too high of premiums and co-payments.

Special Enrollment Period


If you were not previously eligible for Obamacare during open enrollment period, or if you had a life-changing event, then you may be eligible for the Special Enrollment Period.

The Special Enrollment Period is from February 1st to October 31st. To see if you qualify to enroll in the Special Enrollment Period, click on the Special Enrollment Period screener.

Any life changes will alter your eligibility and the Premium Tax Credit amount you have currently under Obamacare. Here are some examples of life changes:

You have up to 60 days to report the event. If you don’t, then you’ll have to wait for the next Open Enrollment period before you can purchase or change insurance under Obamacare.

So if you keep the information in mind, you should be able to buy health insurance under Obamacare without any issues. If you need more information about Obamacare or how to get the insurance from your state’s marketplace, go to Healthcare.gov.

You should also enter your zip on our site to compare health insurance quotes for free!

[su_spoiler title=”References:” icon=”caret-square” style=”fancy” open=”yes”]

  1. http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/
  2. https://www.healthcare.gov/
  3. https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/individuals-and-families/the-premium-tax-credit
  4. https://www.healthcare.gov/medicare/changing-from-marketplace-to-medicare/
  5. https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/getting-medicaid-chip/
  6. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra
  7. https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/cobra-coverage/
  8. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/affordable-care-act/for-employers-and-advisers#Heading-9
  9. https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/open-enrollment-period/
  10. https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/
  11. https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/