Open enrollment starts amid confusion over health care law

Open enrollment starts amid confusion over health care law

Open enrollment starts amid confusion over health care law

Some changes this year will compound the confusion, such as federal funding cuts, a shortened enrollment period of six weeks and website maintenance for healthcare.gov that will keep people from accessing the site the morning enrollment opens and a few days during the enrollment period.

"Taking away the advertising means that people aren't going to get those reminders", said Lori Lodes, co-founder of Get America Covered.

He says people who already hold insurance from the Affordable Care Act's exchanges should visit the federal website, anyway, between now and December 15 to look for a better deal. But most enrollees will be insulated from premium hikes because they receive tax credits tied to the cost of benchmark plans that lower their monthly premiums. As a part of Cover Missouri, Miniea's role includes hosting consulting events every Saturday for people to obtain more information about insurance plans.

Officials say they cut ads because spending so much money wasn't warranted, and the scaled-back counseling programs weren't enrolling many consumers.

If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options, free help is available online or by phone.

"When you are sitting with a family of four below 125 percent of the federal poverty level and they look at you in the eye and say, 'Do I buy food for my kids tonight or do I pay a premium, ' it's heartbreaking to see", said Daniel Bouton, a director at the Community Council of Greater Dallas. Accordingly, most insurers set premiums for 2018 as if CSRs would not be available, hence the large increases. The less you make and the more the silver plans cost, the more financial help you get.

Between 2016 and 2017, an additional 386,052 New Yorkers signed up for health insurance through the ACA, according to the city. It's because premium subsidies are soaring too, making many plans on the exchanges more affordable.

Among the changes: The sign-up period is shorter than in years past, federal advertising and other efforts to educate consumers have been curtailed, and uncertainty over how the Trump administration will handle certain elements of the law have prompted insurers to increase their premiums for 2018. All insurers must offer at least one silver and one gold plan.

Many consumers will be able to find plans for as little as $20, $10, or even $0.

All plans cover essential health benefits such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, outpatient care, emergency services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health and substance use disorder services, lab services, and pediatric services.

Those who are already enrolled in an ACA plan will be automatically re-enrolled, said Tolbert.

Related news