Open enrollment begins for Affordable Care Act

Lucy Hill
November 3, 2017

"I have no insurance coverage", Blackmon explained.

Open enrollment starts today and ends December 15, a sign-up period six weeks shorter than last year's.

Susan Rider, a benefits and human capital consultant with Gregory and Appel Insurance, said the Affordable Care Act is confusing to most people.

In fact, more consumers will be able to snag policies that will cost them nothing each month. Not only is the enrollment period shorter, but people will see fewer ads, navigators, workshops, and outreach efforts by the federal government. United Way of Dane County will help eligible families get insured through its HealthConnect program that subsidizes the cost for an individual or family's out-of-pocket cost of the Silver level health plan. HealthCare.gov has new features meant to make it more user-friendly, and the call center is fully staffed. It accepts all insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare.

CT consumers can begin shopping for plans on the state's health insurance exchange Wednesday but they'll face higher rates and have a shorter time to enroll in coverage than past years. While neither carrier that sold plans past year made a decision to leave the exchange for 2018, they were both approved for double-digit rate increases. These subsidies reduce deductibles and co-pays for lower-income enrollees.

"There are plans that might have a very low deductible with higher monthly premiums, and some might have very low monthly premiums with a bit higher deductible", Higgins said. Silver plans will have an average deductible of just over $4,000 next year.

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Better Health Together recommends deciding on a plan sooner rather than later, as when the deadline nears, the phone lines clog up and appointments are few and far between. So call 211 if you think you qualify. The rate of the lowest-cost bronze plan is rising 17 percent, on average, while the cheapest gold plan is going up 19 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Accordingly, most insurers set premiums for 2018 as if CSRs would not be available, hence the large increases.

The Marketplace typically covers home-based businesspeople, contract employees, early retirees and those who can't otherwise get coverage from a spouse. Last year, you had until after the holidays to sign up.

Those customers should check for options outside the marketplaces, where people can still buy insurance but without tax credit help. She is unsure of which plan to select and said the process makes her feel like giving up.

Rosendale said important information is available here.

Now that it's time to enroll again, his administration has slashed marketing budgets completely in some areas, and shortened the sign-up period from 12 weeks to six.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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