Five Tips from Consumer Reports For Navigating the Insurance Marketplace on  This information is also useful in signing up on state enrollment sites.

1. Gather your financial information

Prior to signing up gather all the information you’ll be expected to have including:

  • Most recent income tax return.
  • Recent pay stubs.
  • Social Security number.
  • Recent bank statement or two.
  • Information on other income sources, such as alimony, capital gains., investments, pensions, rental properties, Social Security, and unemployment compensation.

Figure out as best you can your household Modified Gross Income (MAGI) is likely to be for 2014. For that you can use the Consumer Reports cheat sheet that describes exactly how this works. If self-employed, at least a rough idea of what you expect to earn in 2014.

Go to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidy calculator. Fill it out using the MAGI number you calculated. The subsidy it shows you, if any, is given on an annual basis. Divide by 12 to find what it comes to every month.

2.  Start browsing.

New on is a browsing feature that lets you check out different plans before inputting your personal data. On the home page, click on the leftmost medallion that says, “See plans before I apply.” Fill out the requested information and you’ll be able to explore which plans work best for you.

3. If you created an account back in October on start over.

Once you’ve decided on a plan, fill out an application.

4. How to unstick your application on

  • If your problem is at account creation, start over again with a new user name and password.
  • If it’s later in the process, hit the new reset button.
  • Another option is to contact the call center and have a person help unstick your application.
  • If you get to the end of the process and actually enroll in a plan, you should see a page where you can pay your first month’s premium. If you don’t see this page, you’re not done.

5.  Call the insurance company if you don’t hear back from them within a week.

Once you’ve paid the premium, it’s probably a good precaution to call your chosen plan to verify that you’re enrolled.

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