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ObamacareUSA.org connects you to virtually every health plan available in District of Columbia. While you shop around it is important to learn about the types of plans if you do not already know the differences. The Affordable Care Act has established two main categories of health plans:

1) Marketplace Plans, also known as “Obamacare Plans” and

2) Short Term Plans, also known as “Private Insurance.”

Obamacare Plans, or the first category, are those plans established by the federal and/or state government. You can enroll in Obamacare Plans during the Open Enrollment Period. If you missed Open Enrollment, you can still sign up for these plans after the deadline has passed, but only if you have a Qualifying Life Event.

Obamacare Plans are broken down into four coverage types. These levels of coverage are known as the “Metal Tiers” and are as follows:

1) Bronze; 2) Silver; 3) Gold; and 4) Platinum. Bronze has the cheapest monthly/yearly premium cost, but you pay more out-of-pocket when you see the doctor. Platinum, by contrast, has higher premiums, but you pay a lot less out-of-pocket. Remember that the premium costs for any one of these tiers can be greatly lowered if you qualify for a subsidy.

Separate from the four metal tiers is a fifth level of coverage known as the “Catastrophic Plan.” It is the most inexpensive plan, but it is designed to mainly cover you in the event of an emergency or a severe illness. Learn more about Obamacare Plans and the five coverage types here

Short Term Plans, or the second category, are best for those who missed Open Enrollment and do not have a Qualifying Life Event. Short Term plans are meant to be a temporary option and to fill in a gap of coverage until Open Enrollment comes around again or until you have a Qualifying Life Event, like a new job.

Short Term Plans are sometimes referred to as “Private Insurance” because they are very similar to how health insurance used to be before the government stepped-in and launched the Affordable Care Act. Unlike Obamacare Plans, you may be denied for preexisting conditions. The good news is that monthly rates tend to be low and if you are denied coverage by one insurer, there are others that do not have as strict eligibility requirements. Use ObamacareUSA.org to shop around and learn more about Short Term Plans here

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