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Affordable Care Act

Guide to the Affordable Care Act
En Español

Who Needs to Apply?
If you don't already have health coverage, the Health Insurance Marketplace is a new way to find and buy health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs. The Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured and underinsured people find health coverage. When you fill out the Marketplace application it will tell you if you qualify for:

Private Insurance Plans: When you enter your information, the Marketplace will tell you whether you qualify for lower costs based on your household size and income. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care. If you don't qualify for lower costs, you can still use the Marketplace to buy insurance at the standard price.

TennCare and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): These programs provide coverage to millions of families with limited income. If it looks like you qualify, the Marketplace will share information with your state agency and they'll contact you, or you can call DHS Family Service Assistance Center at 1-866-311-4287.

Why Apply?
Health Coverage helps pay the costs when you need healthcare. No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most people need medical care at some point. Health coverage helps pay for these costs when you get sick or hurt. Having health insurance can help protect you from high unexpected costs like paying $30,000 for a 3-day hospital stay or $7,500 to fix a broken leg.

What Do You Need to Apply?
Before you apply, figure out:

  • Does your employer offer insurance?
    If they do offer insurance, have your benefit manager fill out the Employer Coverage Tool page of the Application for Health Coverage and Help Paying Costs, available at
  • If your employer does not offer coverage, then proceed to the Marketplace. These are some questions to ask to help you compare and enroll in the coverage that best fits your needs:
    • What is your budget?
    • What is your current income and what do you think it will be next year?
    • Are there any specific doctors, services, or medications you want your plan to cover?

How the Marketplace Works

  • Create an account
  • Apply
  • Pick a plan
  • Enroll

3 Things to Know about the Health Insurance Marketplace

  1. It's an easier way to shop for health insurance.
  2. Many people can get a break on costs.
  3. It gives you control over your options

Medicaid/CHIP agencies
Health Connection (Medicaid & CHIP): 1-855-259-0701
Right from the Start Medicaid Outreach Project: 1-800-809-7276
Insure Kids Now (CHIP): 1-877-543-7669
Medicaid Agency: 1-800-362-1504
All Kids (CHIP): 1-888-373-5437