Frequently Asked Questions by Young Americans

What is Get Covered America?

Get Covered America is a campaign of Enroll America, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who take advantage of new options to sign up for health coverage.

What is a Health Insurance Exchange or Marketplace?

A Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchange is a new way that Americans can compare and shop for health insurance in their state. You can sign up during the open enrollment period beginning in November and ending in January. You may even be able to get help paying for your new insurance. Depending on where you live, your Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchange will be run by the state or by the federal government.

How can I enroll?

You can sign up:

  • Online
  • In person
  • By phone
  • Using a paper application (mail or fax)

 When does the new health coverage begin?

Coverage will begin the first of each month as long as you have enrolled by the 15th of the previous month and paid your premium.

Who is eligible for these new options?

  • You must live in the U.S.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or national, or lawfully present.

Even if you don’t qualify because you are not a U.S. citizen, other members of your family might be eligible for coverage. There is no penalty for applying, and your information will not be used for any purpose other than determining if you and your family members qualify for health coverage.

Also, health plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace aren’t the only new form of coverage available. Some people will qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and can apply for these programs at any time. Even now, many Americans who qualify for these programs are not currently enrolled.

How does the Affordable Care Act help young adults?

The Affordable Care Act requires plans and issuers that offer dependent coverage to make the coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26. They are eligible to remain on their parents’ plans even if they are financially independent from their parents, married, no longer living with their parents, in school, or eligible for insurance through their employer.

What is a student health insurance plan?

Some four- and two-year institutions partner with insurance companies to offer their students insurance plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, student health insurance plans will be required to meet basic standards of care. Even if their school offers an insurance plan, students will still be able to buy a plan through the Marketplace and may want to compare the plan their school offers to the options available through the Marketplace.

What is a catastrophic plan?

People under 30 and some people with limited incomes may buy what is called a “catastrophic” health plan, which will protect them from very high medical costs.

A catastrophic plan generally requires the consumer to pay all of his or her medical costs up to a certain amount, usually several thousand dollars. Costs for essential health benefits over that are generally paid by the insurance company.

These policies usually have lower premiums than a comprehensive plan, but cover the consumer only if he or she needs a lot of care.

How much will it cost to enroll?

It doesn’t cost anything to apply and learn what coverage options you qualify for, what they will cost, and what financial help you can receive. Once you know your options, you can decide what health insurance plan is best for you and your budget.

How much financial help can I get with the cost of coverage?

If you enroll through a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for financial assistance. The amount of money you would have to pay each month depends on your income. You can get a quick estimate by entering some basic information into the Get Covered Calculator:

Which states are expanding Medicaid?

States are still making decisions about whether to expand Medicaid. States can choose to expand Medicaid at any time, including after. To see if your state has expanded Medicaid, please visit

Where can I get help enrolling?

Help is available in person, online, and by phone. To find a local application assister near you, visit

Want to get involved?
Get Covered America is recruiting volunteers from across the country. If you’re interested in volunteering to help tell your community about their health insurance options, visit and someone from our team will be in touch.


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