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Exchange Application Process As It Looks

CMS has released a new Obamacare application form which has been shortened down considerably.  About 3 pages for individuals and 7 pages or so for families.  This simplified will make the enrollment task much easier for most people.  There is also a third application form for those who wish to purchase inside of their state's exchange (be it state, partnered or federal - California will be state) who do not receive a subsidy.

Looking at the applications it is becoming clearer that the process to enroll, be it online or via paper application, will be a two step process that will likely have to be completed in two separate sittings.

The "Application" form is a form used to secure the right to shop in the exchange (now referred to as "marketplace") for coverage and pick a plan.

Link to individual application

Once the application is approved, then you will be given some kind of permission to actually go into the marketplace and make your purchase.  Paper application states 1-2 weeks after submission to get permission.  I expect online will be faster, however we don't yet know what the lag time will be between submission online and approval to shop.

For those purchasing their coverage outside of the exchange in the open market (private exchange), this application process will most likely not apply.  

Remember, the initial 'right to shop' application is for qualification, not plan selection, and the information is vetted between Social Security, IRS and Department of Homeland Security.

For more information on California specific healthcare reform, visit the California Healthcare reform section on my web site at



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