One of the important highlights of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or Affordable Care Act (ACA)) is the establishment of what are called Health Insurance Marketplaces. In plain terms, these Health Insurance Marketplaces are organizations that Obamacare set up to advice and help buyers with the purchase of health plan in their respective states under the provisions of ACA, and to bring under its umbrella the coverage offered under various competing health plans.
Health Insurance Marketplaces under the PPACA provide buyers of health plans all the details as these are available in their respective states. They offer plans that are regulated and set by the government. Buyers may choose from these according to their needs and convenience. These Health Insurance Marketplaces provide buyers with a ready calculator with which they can estimate the cost of the health plan and determine if they are eligible for subsidies from the federal government, or for Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Following the enactment of PPACA in March 2010; Health Insurance Marketplaces came into effect from January 1, 2014. These are the actual certified plans that were part of the standardized plans that the government has put in place. Enrollment to these Health Insurance Marketplaces started on October 1, 2013, and by the time these Health Insurance Marketplaces concluded their second round of purchases in late 2014; nearly 13 million people had signed up for health plans through these Health Insurance Marketplaces.
Another three million or so people enrolled to health plans through private, non-PPACA provided Health Insurance Marketplaces. This kind of plan was aimed at medium and small scale businesses. Health Insurance Marketplaces under Obamacare plan to bring nearly 30 million Americans under Obamacare by 2019.