Federal health care website up and running after slow start

Maricruz Casares
Noviembre 3, 2018

The Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace opened this week, but Iowans have the option to seek coverage from other sources - a move state insurance officials say was a good one for thousands of Iowans. The federal government does not have people call to sell policies.

If you buy insurance on the individual market - either because you don't get insurance from your employer or you work for yourself - your best coverage options are likely still in the Obamacare market. All plans offered through the marketplace must offer comprehensive health coverage - including key consumer protections like no discrimination against people with preexisting health conditions - and cover a variety of preventative services free of charge.

"We're talking about how DE, in particular, could create recommendations to make sure we're protecting everyone to get coverage that they need and not be pushed into plans that really don't give them coverage, except maybe some catastrophic coverage", she said. The sign up period runs through December 15 for coverage starting January 1. "Governor Murphy's commitment to increasing the number of people with health insurance will certainly result in a stronger and healthier New Jersey, and the Department of Health is committed to doing everything it can to educate people about the need to be insured", Commissioner Elnahal wrote in his letter to providers.

Packham and Ray, who have been ACA navigators since the federal marketplace opened five years ago, said the first day of open enrollment was off to a slow start for them, but they had appointments on the books for the coming weeks.

Federal tax credits are available for those whose household income is between 138 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. That cost drops to $201 when subsidies and tax credits are applied.

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"These plans are intended as fillers when you're in between jobs". Individuals who are already enrolled should check to see if their current plan is still the most affordable or the best suited to their needs.

The average cost for individual plans will decrease 6.4 percent statewide compared to this year, Donelon said.

When insurance customers log onto the Affordable Care Act's sign-up websites Thursday, they'll find that health-care coverage prices are high but largely stable, after months of tinkering by the Trump administration. Those four providers are offering a total of 33 different plans this year. Across the state help is available from navigators at many Community Action Agencies, assisters at Federally Qualified Health Centers, and at many hospitals. "In Florida, over 1.7 million of our neighbors - more than any other state - signed up for a marketplace policy past year, often with the help of a Navigator", Castor said.

Financial help is available for individuals with annual incomes up to $48,560; for a family of four the income limit is $100,400. The Illinois Department of Insurance advises consumers who are enrolling or re-enrolling to start shopping early and look at all options on and off the exchange.

You can contact the Florida Covering Kids & Families' Navigator program's office by visiting the USF Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Program.

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