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From Feb. 15 through May 15, 2021, these Marketplaces will operationalize functionality to make this SEP available to all Marketplace-eligible consumers who are submitting a new application or updating an existing application. State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) operating their own platform have the opportunity to take similar action within their states.

The COVID-19 public health emergency has left millions of Americans facing uncertainty and exceptional circumstances, while millions of Americans have experienced new health problems during the pandemic. This Special Enrollment Period (SEP) will allow individuals and families in states with Marketplaces served by the HealthCare.gov platform to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage.

Visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov to shop for and enroll in a Marketplace plan. You can also find local help at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1.800.318.2596. TTY users should call 1.855.889.4325.

What is The Affordable Care Act?

You might have heard of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as "Obamacare." This law requires that almost everyone be enrolled in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty. If you haven't had health insurance in the past, you are now likely eligible and will need to sign up for some type of health insurance plan.

What is the Difference Between Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Medicaid program, which allows individuals to receive free or low-cost health insurance coverage, will be expanding to cover all individuals with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level (in 2017 at or below ~$34,638 for a family of four). Medicaid provides comprehensive benefits and services including hospital care, outpatient care, and preventive and wellness services. If your income is too high for Medicaid, you can purchase private health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the Health Insurance Exchange. The Marketplace will be similar to other websites you might be familiar with, like Expedia or Travelocity. Just as these sites find the best travel option at the best price for you, the Marketplace will allow you to compare health insurance options side by side and select the plan that is best for you. Families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level (up to ~$100,400 for a family of four) will be eligible for support in the form of an income tax credit to assist you with paying for your plan.  Those with Medicare, employer-sponsored insurance, or who are not legal permanent residents are not eligible to purchase plans on the Marketplace.

Where can I find more information and assistance with enrolling?

  • Visit HealthCare.gov
  • Call the toll-free federal help line, available 24/7, at 1.800.318.2596

How can UI Health help me?

We can answer your questions over the phone, by email, or you can schedule an appointment to get help in-person.

Share information in your community

If you are interested in sharing information about the new healthcare options and how to sign up, download and print our Get Insured Card below.
Get Insured Card (page 1 in English; page 2 in Spanish) .pdf