The information you'll need to gather before shopping for health insurance

You'll need these for the state Health Insurance Marketplaces

Published: September 2013

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new place to see, compare, and purchase high-quality private health insurance plans. Every state has its own marketplace and the marketplace in your state may have a distinctive name. Most people will start by visiting the marketplace online but you can also use it in-person, over the phone, through personal helpers called Navigators, or with the help of an insurance agent or broker. To find the marketplace in your state, go to and you'll be quickly directed to the right place.

Regardless of what it's called or how you get there, you'll need to gather some information before buying insurance in any of the new marketplaces.

Gather this information

 1. Information about the family members who need coverage

  • Full name and address
  • Birth date
  • Social Security numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)

2. Financial information

Income records for every member of your immediate family (whether or not they need coverage), for example, pay stubs,  W-2 forms, or last year's tax return.

3. Health insurance information

  • Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your family.
  • For every member of your immediate family who works and needs coverage, a form that person's employer will provide that describes the coverage currently offered to employees. Here is a copy of the form.  If the employer is not offering you or your family member coverage, the form will say so. It will also include other information that the marketplace application will ask for: the employer's name, address, phone and tax identification number (EIN).
  • If an employer isn't familiar with this form, show it this information from the U.S. Department of Labor describing it.

Why does the marketplace need this information?

  • The amount of financial help available depends on a family's total income. Lower-income families get the most help. So the marketplace needs to know the income for the whole family even if only some family members need coverage.
  • If you have an offer of health coverage from your employer (or a family member's employer) and it meets certain standards for affordability and coverage, you will not be eligible for financial help in the marketplace. The information collected about your employer's coverage will help determine this. If you aren't eligible for financial help in the marketplace, you may wish to enroll in your employer's health plan.



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