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How to Shop for Health Insurance

Starting in 2014, most people will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Coverage can be through your employer, an insurance company, a government program such as Medicaid or Medicare, or insurance bought on the health insurance exchange.

Some people will be exempt from the requirement to have health insurance, including:

  • People who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income for health insurance
  • People with incomes below the threshold required for filing taxes (in 2012, $9,750 for a single person and $27,100 for a married couple with two children)
  • People who qualify for religious exemptions
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People who are incarcerated
  • Members of Native American tribes

Choosing a health insurance plan is a big decision. The right plan has to be the ideal balance of cost and coverage. Visit our Shopping Guide for more information on how to shop for a plan.


Can I Afford It?

When you're buying health insurance, cost is just one factor to consider. Plus, there are many ways you can reduce your costs so you can afford what you need. Learn about your costs and options here.


Understanding Costs

When buying health insurance, it's important that you know how your plan works so that you are aware of potential costs. Learn about how insurance works and explore typical cost scenarios.


What Is and Isn’t Covered

When it comes to buying health insurance, finding out what is covered — and what isn't — will be a key factor in your decision. Learn how to choose a plan that gives you the coverage you need.


Questions to Ask When Picking a Plan

Picking a health insurance plan doesn't have to be complicated. Part of making the best choice is knowing what questions to ask. Learn what questions to ask before make your decision.


Keeping Your Health Care Costs Down

Now that you understand some health care expenses, it's time to manage your own costs and save money. From picking the right plan to budgeting, we'll share some tips to help you keep your health care costs down.