If you’re uninsured, the Health Insurance Marketplace is your virtual one-stop-shop for finding health insurance. Here’s a quick overview of how it works.

No coverage denials or lifetime caps. Insurance companies you find on the Marketplace can’t refuse you coverage or charge you more for premiums because you have a chronic condition like arthritis.  They also can’t put any lifetime limits on your coverage.

You get coverage for essential health benefits. All plans offered in the marketplace must cover a list of essential health benefits. These include:

• Outpatient care at a clinic or doctor’s office
• Hospitalization for surgery
• Lab tests and some health screenings
• Prescription drugs
• Rehabilitation, including physical therapy and occupational therapy
• Care for managing chronic conditions such as arthritis

How much of the cost is covered for these services depends on your state, and on the plan you choose.

You can choose your plan level. Plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace are broken into four main categories:

• Bronze
• Silver
• Gold
• Platinum

All plans offer the same essential health benefits, but at different costs. Gold and platinum plans charge higher monthly premiums, but their costs are lower for doctor’s visits and prescription medicines. That could save you money if you’re paying for several different arthritis medicines and numerous rheumatologist visits. Bronze and silver plans have lower monthly premiums, but you’ll pay more out-of-pocket for health care services.

Make sure you’re covered. When comparing plans on the Marketplace, check to see that your prescription medicines, physical therapy, and other health services you use to treat your arthritis are covered. Also make sure your primary care doctor, rheumatologist, physical therapist, and other specialists are part of the plan.

Navigating healthcare.gov. The site asks for personal information, such as age, gender, family size, home state, whether they have a disability or medical condition, if you are a smoker or have trouble affording insurance. Based on answers to those types of questions, it produces a list of insurance possibilities that you can review to determine the best possible plan for you.  You can also find information about Medicaid coverage options. In some cases, you may qualify for a government subsidy to help you pay your premium cost.

How do I apply?
You can apply online at: healthcare.gov/marketplace/individual/
By phone at: 800-318-2596
Or in person with the help of a navigator or assister by visiting: localhelp.healthcare.gov