How to Apply for Health Care under the Affordable Care Act - dummies

How to Apply for Health Care under the Affordable Care Act

By Lisa Yagoda, Nicole Duritz, Joan Friedman

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

You complete an application before you go shopping for plans. The information you provide in your applications helps the Marketplace determine which plans meet your needs.

The Marketplace application form has just three pages for individuals and seven pages for families, which is much shorter than the typical insurance form. To see the family application form, go to Health Insurance Marketplace.

Print out the application first and review it in advance of applying. Before you apply, gather this information so you have an easier experience filling out the application:

  • Social Security numbers for yourself and your family members

  • Employer and income information for all members of your family (in the form of pay stubs, W-2 forms, or tax documents, for example)

  • The policy number of your current insurance plan, if you have one

  • Information about any employer-offered insurance you may be eligible to use

You can apply either online at or, if you don’t have computer access, by telephone (24 hours a day) at 800-318-2596. If you have a computer but prefer not to fill out the application online, you can print (or request by phone) a paper copy to fill out and return.

After you complete your application, you learn what financial help you qualify for. Be sure to provide all the information the application form requests so you can get the financial information you need without delay.

Getting Marketplace help

If you run into any trouble or have any uncertainty while you’re creating a Marketplace account, filling out an application for coverage, shopping among your plan options, or enrolling, get customer service help these ways:

  • Call 800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you use a TTY, call 855-889-4325.

  • Use the online chat function, which is also available 24/7. Locate the blue box in the lower-right corner of most pages, and type your question to have an online conversation with a Marketplace representative.

Keep in mind that if your state runs its own Marketplace, you’ll be directed there for help.

If you prefer to speak to someone in your local area, go to and type in your city and state or zip code. The site then pulls up a list of local organizations with contact information, office hours, and types of help offered. For example, you may find listings for entities that specialize in non-English language support, Medicaid or CHIP, and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

Appealing your eligibility

After you submit an application, you find out whether you qualify for financial support for purchasing an insurance plan. If the answer you get surprises you and doesn’t seem right, you can file an appeal. Go to your Marketplace account at to start the process, or call the Marketplace at 800-318-2596 (or 855-889-4325 if you use a TTY).

You can also mail an appeal form or your own letter filing an appeal to Health Insurance Marketplace, 465 Industrial Blvd., London, KY 40750-0061. You can ask a friend, relative, or lawyer to help with the appeal process, or you can do it yourself.