Open enrollment for health insurance through healthcare.gov ends Saturday
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03 November 2018, 11:30 | Melissa Porter
What’s at Stake for the Affordable Care Act as Open Enrollment Begins for 2019
By Brian Mc Bride
Medica, the Minnesota-based insurer, will continue to offer plans for the coming year.
Central Floridians have access to between four to six plans, depending on the county of residence. From changes to the tax penalty to greater access to different types of major medical insurance, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of choice for health insurance consumers.
If you already have coverage through the ACA, you should consider updating your application anyway, experts advise.
She added, "This year the president and Republicans in Congress have made it more hard for hardworking families to sign up for affordable health care due to their sabotage, including massive cuts for national outreach and enrollment efforts".
"It makes sense to shop around because things change year to year", she said.
"When you're budgeting, you have to take into account all the costs", said Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families at USF and director of Florida's navigator grant.
First, ask for details of any policy, including premiums in writing, and making sure purchasers understand the plan. But he says with the help of a local insurance agent, consumers who do not receive subsidies through the ACA may have other more affordable options.
"We have in-person assistance in about half the counties but we're providing enrollment assistance in all 67 counties by phone", said Ray.
Federal tax credits are available for those whose household income is between 138 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Last year, 85 percent of people in ME with marketplace plans qualified.
"Lack of awareness about coverage options, particularly financial help and deadlines, is one of the biggest barriers in reaching the remaining uninsured". But the ACA is still the law of the land and financial assistance is still available for low and middle-income consumers.
Open enrollment, which will end December 15, began on Thursday for Iowans purchasing or changing their individual health coverage through the federal marketplace and starting January 1, 2019. The legislation, also known as Obamacare, has become more popular with voters despite numerous repeal attempts.
Two companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana and Vantage Health Plan, are offering a total of 46 individual marketplace plans in the state for 2019. They also have the option to purchase short-term health insurance coverage. These plans don't have to meet the criteria required by the ACA, so they may not cover certain conditions. Some may not have pharmacy plans. Bronze plans have low monthly premiums, but high costs when you need care; gold plans have high premiums but lower costs when you need care.
Among the seven insurance companies that are offering ACA plans in Florida, rate increases range from 2.4 percent to 9.8 percent.
Administration officials view the availability of short-term health plans and "association health plans" as a means of expanding lower-cost options for consumers.
But federal funding for navigators who help people sign up in Florida was cut from $4.5 million last year to $1.25 million this year.
In 2017, 28.5 million people - or 8.8 percent of Americans - had no health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
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