How to enroll in the Federal Exchange (Federal Health Insurance Marketplace)? – Step by Step Instructions

Finally, Federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Federal Exchange) is working the way we all expected it to work from the very beginning. Below are step-by-step instructions how to enroll in Federal Exchange.

A. What should be done before applying for Health Coverage on Federal Exchange?

Step A.1

Learn how you may lower your insurance costs. Go to Federal Health Insurance Marketplace site and click on See If I can Get Lower Costs. There you will find whether your income will qualify for lower premiums for a Marketplace insurance plan. Follow by going to Kaiser Subsidy Calculator where you will provide your state, age of adults enrolling in exchange coverage, and your annual family income (actually’ Modified Adjusted Gross Income – MAGI). You’ll get back how much government tax credit subsidy you could receive – it could dramatically reduce the amount of your monthly health insurance premium.

Step A.2

Prepare the following documents:

  • Social Security numbers or Document numbers for legal immigrants
  • Employment and Income information for every member of your household who needs coverage
  • Policy number for any current health insurance plan covering members of your household
  • Health coverage for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for

B. Applying for Health Coverage / Create Account

Step B.1

Click on Apply now for Health Coverage onFederal Health Insurance Marketplace. Click on Create Account. Enter your first and last name, state you live in, and your e-mail address. If you don’t have e-mail address, you may create one for free.

Step B.2

Create your username and password, confirm password and click NEXT. Don’t share your password.

Step B.3

You will receive e-mail(s) (it may be one or three e-mails). You must click on the link to activate the new account.

Step B.4

Once you click on the e-mail link, login to your account, and Apply for Coverage for you and/or your family.

Step B.5

Enter your birth date and Social Security Number.

Step B.6

You’ll be prompted for 4 identity questions that will ask you a variety questions such as:

  • Did you previously live on any of the following streets?
  • What is your favorite cuisine?

Respond to them. There is always an option for None of the Above. The system will confirm that your identity is verified.


You are now ready to start your application. You may interrupt the process at any time, and data you’ve entered will be saved. You may log into the Federal Exchange again (using user name and password you’ve created), see your Application ID, and the status of your application. You may edit data you’ve entered. But be aware, once you’ve submitted the data and got your subsidy determination, you will be able to change ONLY your contact information. All other data, such as your reported income and the identity of helpers cannot be edited anymore. Therefore, be very careful before submitting the application. In particular, if you need any help from agent/broker (and there are many reasons why you may need it, particularly in the Health Plan selection – read more in The Role of Agents in the Health Insurance Marketplace), their ID should be entered BEFORE you submit the application.

Changing your application AFTER submission normally required deleting the existing application and reentering it. You will NOT need to recreate the account.

C. Applying for Health Coverage / Start Your Application

Step C.1

Provide your Contact information – home address and the phone number

Step C.2

Enter information about people who help you such as Agent or Broker, Navigator, etc. Agent should provide his/her Federally Facilitated Marketplace User ID (FFM User ID) and National Producer Number (NPN).

Step C.3

Select whether you want to answer questions about your income in order to see whether you are qualified for government subsidies, or you prefer to answer fewer questions but will not get help paying for coverage

Step C.4

Add data about each member of your household who are applying for health coverage

D. Applying for Health Coverage / Family and Household

For everyone included on your federal income tax return and all family members who live with you, even if they are not applying for health coverage, provide the following information:

Step D.1

Social Security numbers and Birth dates

Step D.2

Citizenship or immigration status

Step D.3

Whether you plan to file a federal Income tax return for the year you are applying for Health Coverage.

Step D.4

Race/ ethnicity

E. Applying for Health Coverage / Income

For everyone in your family and household, the following data below should be provided. You may need pay stubs, W-2 forms and other income information.

Step E.1

All sources of income and their amount, including such income as job, self-employment, social security benefits, unemployment, retirement, pension, capital gains, and other income

Step E.2

All sources of deductions and their amount, including alimony, student loan interest, and other deductions

F. Applying for Health Coverage / Additional Information

Step F.1

Provide information about your current health coverage

Step F.2

Provide information about any job related coverage you and your family may be able to get, even if you are not enrolled in it

Step F.3

If you are eligible for insurance from an employer, you’ll need information about the plans they offer

G. Applying for Health Coverage / Review, Sign and Submit

Check your application carefully before you click the SUBMIT button – see the WARNING above.

H. Eligibility Results

Step H.1

After your application was received and processed, you’ll get back the eligibility results that determine your tax credit. Read them before you enroll.

Step H.2

Decide how much of your tax credit to apply to your monthly premium. Any amount that is left over at the end of the year, you will get back as a credit when you file your federal income tax return.


I. Select a Health Insurance Plan in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace

All plans offer the same essential health benefits, but have different actuarial values – the percentage of medical costs the plan will cover after premium payments. There are 5 levels of coverage: 4 metal levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) and Catastrophic level.  From 4 metal levels, the Bronze plan has the lowest amount of coverage and the Platinum has the highest level of coverage.

The selection of the Health Insurance Plan from the variety of plans with different levels of coverage may be confusing. Use the Obamacare expertise of independent insurance agencies, such as Liberty Medicare. There is no cost to you to use their services.

Step I.1

Review all available to you health plans. Select the metal level, and review plans for that level. Each plan will display the full list price (non-discounted premium), as well as your monthly premium that takes into account your premium tax credit.

Step I.2

Click DETAILS button for any particular plan. Review plan’s Summary of Benefits, Plan Brochure, Provider Directory, and List of Covered Drugs. Be sure that your doctors and hospitals are part of Provider Directory.

Step I.3

Select the Enroll button and confirm your health plan selection

Step I.4

Click Pay for Health Plan button (it was not functional in the process of writing this post).

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Contact Us

For help finding the best Medicare or Individual Health Plan for you, please contact Liberty Medicare or call us at 877-657-7477.


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