The health insurances exchanges, or marketplaces, are open to Arizonans who are uninsured, or who purchase insurance as an individual, and are not part of a group through an employer.

There are about 1 million residents of this state who qualify, said Herb K. Schultz, the regional director of the Health and Human Services Department.

Enrollment satisfies the federal requirement that all residents have health insurance next year, but also may make insurance plans cheaper for some people, Schultz said.

“In this new marketplace individuals buying coverage on their own may qualify for low or no cost Medicaid, the AHCCCS program here, or for premium assistance,” to help pay part of the costs, he explained.

There are a few ways to enroll. Online is the method most promoted, and the sites are or

“Or sit down with an enrollment counselor and you in your area can review all of the health plans to chose from,” Schultz said.

Each state has a health care exchange, but most states, including Arizona, opted not to create their own, but to let the federal government do it. The plans offered through the federal program are specific to each customer's residents, so Arizonans would be able to compare state health insurance plans.

For those who are already insured, there’s a calculator to compare current premiums for health care with some of the plans being offered through the exchanges, Schultz said.