Created under the ACA, Exchanges (or Health Insurance Marketplaces) are governmental agencies or nonprofit entities that meet the applicable requirements and make Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) available to qualified individuals and qualified employers. Unless otherwise identified, this term refers to State Exchanges, regional Exchanges, subsidiary Exchanges and a federally facilitated Exchange. Covered California and Connect for Health Colorado are two of the State Exchanges.


Covered California™ is the new, easy-to-use marketplace that will connect Californians to accessible, high-quality health coverage, effective January 2014. In the Individual Marketplace, individuals and families will be able to compare and choose health coverage that best fits their needs and budget. They may also qualify for financial assistance to make coverage more affordable.

Small businesses and their employees will be able to purchase coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Created by Covered California and administered by Pinnacle Claims Management, Inc. (PCMI), the SHOP program will offer standardized health plans for employers with 1-50 eligible employees.

Covered California is a part of the State of California.

Also see “Metallic” Plans, Individual Subsidies and Open Enrollment.