Affordable Care Act health insurance enrollment period begins

Andrew Harnik  AP

Andrew Harnik AP

Is Obamacare still around? Yes.

"I have no insurance coverage", Blackmon explained.

The ACA enrollment period began Wednesday and will continue until December 15.

"The Affordable Care Act has been very successful in driving down the rate of American families living without health insurance", Kaser said.

She had a life change this year, retirement, and said she was ready to hear costs were going to increase.

In some cases, credits might climb high enough to cover the entire bill for bronze plans, which usually require customers to pay a deductible of several thousand dollars before most coverage begins. (If it's not, and you do nothing, your premiums could jump.) If you enroll in a silver plan and your income is below 250% of the federal poverty level-$16,240 for a two-person household in 2017-you may also qualify for extra savings on out-of-pocket costs.

Because President Donald Trump cut funding that had kept silver plan deductibles and copays low for lower income buyers, insurance companies raised silver plan premiums.

That means consumers hoping to find coverage in the federal or state marketplaces-including many early retirees not yet eligible for Medicare-should start shopping now, so they have plenty of time to review plan options and find assistance if needed.

In addition to the impact on individual consumers, increased premiums, especially for the benchmark plans, have major implications for the federal budget. But she adds, "the health care exchange is alive and well". "That's cheaper than a lot of cell phone plans".

Almost half of counties in the USA are expected to have only one insurer offering plans in 2018.

There are multiple ways to find out more about the plans.

Despite political disagreements over enforcing the ACA's requirement to purchase insurance, the Internal Revenue Service announced last week that the agency will continue to penalize the uninsured, unless they've obtained an exemption from the law. In any case, it will not happen in time for 2018. It's because premium subsidies are soaring too, making many plans on the exchanges more affordable. The group helped sign-up about 10,000 residents a year ago, said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director Ohio Association of Food Banks.

Carlyn Cowen, chief policy and public affairs officer for the Chinese American Planning Council, said information sessions are crucial because many of their members are afraid to sign up for ACA insurance due to their distrust of the government over immigration issues.

However, local health officials say they may have their work cut out for them.

Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that repealing the ACA would be one of his first acts as president, but so far, Republicans' efforts to do so have fallen short.

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