The primary difference between on exchange plans and off exchange plans is where the health insurance policy is purchased. On exchange health plans are purchased on a government run insurance marketplace (such as healthcare.gov or Covered California) whereas off exchange plans are purchased outside of the healthcare marketplaces mentioned above. Off exchange plans can be purchased directly from a private health insurance company (such as Blue Cross Blue Shield) or via an agent or broker.
it does not matter whether you purchase a health insurance policy on exchange or off exchange they both must be qualified health plans and satisfy the list of essential health benefits as set forth in the Affordable Care Act, as it relates the the individual mandate.
Why purchase an On Exchange Health Plan?
The primary reason why a health insurance shopper would be compelled to purchase their health plan on exchange would be if they qualified for a income based subsidy. In recent years, more than 80% of individuals and families shopping for health insurance qualified for premium subsidies or cost sharing reductions.
Health Plan Options
Not all health insurance companies choose to participate on the insurance marketplace, therefore the health plan options available to you may differ depending on whether you shop on exchange or off exchange.
Health insurance shopping decisions have become more complicated than they were years ago. If you are confused or have questions about your health plan options or where you should shop, you can speak to a licensed healthcare professional toll free at (888) 592-5448 for assistance with any questions that you may have, or to provide free no-obligation health insurance quotes.