SELZER: 2019 health insurance enrollment has changes

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The dedicated PHIS Call Center consists of a team of multi-lingual, health insurance professionals, that are trained to walk a client through the entire process of selecting a healthcare plan and enrolling them for their coverage, as well as responding to any questions they may have regarding their new health insurance policy.

Open enrollment began Thursday through the Affordable Care Act, which covers more than 100,000 Louisiana residents.

The state will formally mark the Health Insurance Marketplace's sixth enrollment period with a press event at 1 p.m. November 5 at Westside Family Healthcare's Northeast Wilmington Health Center, 908-B E. 16th St. Westside is the only organization in DE to receive federal funding for navigators to help people enroll for coverage either in person or over the phone.

"President Trump's Administration took action to address the skyrocketing price of health insurance, and now we are starting to see the results", said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a news release. The availability of insurance through the marketplace is also one of the reasons that Delaware's uninsured rate has been reduced to 5.4 percent. There will be fewer resources available to assist consumers with shopping for a plan, calculating their subsidies and enrolling them for coverage for their 2019 health plan.

The Trump administration has opened the market to less regulated health care plans in its effort to weaken the Affordable Care Act.

"From a consumer perspective, the experience should be pretty good", Kelley Turek, a policy specialist at America's Health Insurance Plans, told Axios.

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"People need to be aware that those plans are not the same kinds of health insurance, that often times they don't cover preexisting conditions, that there may be some limits in there", she said.

Grandfathered plans predate the ACA passage in 2010 and are allowed to exist under a provision of the law. For small group plans, costs are expected to increase 0.1 percent. Most receive tax credits available for household incomes between 138% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.

For 2019, Bright Health is entering the Tennessee market for the first time and Celtic Insurance (appearing on the FFM as "Ambetter of Tennessee") is returning to the marketplace.

The overall current average monthly premium in DE is $750, with the average premium reduced to $223 per month after tax credit.

The deadline to enroll in a plan is December 15 so don't delay! Rare exceptions may apply to people who have a so-called "life change", such as marriage, having a baby or losing other coverage. New to the mix of carriers this year is Oscar Health, which is offering competitively priced bronze and silver plans. "As the federal government continues working to make it more hard for Americans to access the health care they need and deserve, Washington, D.C., remains committed to expanding access". Those who purchase 2019 coverage during that time period will have coverage beginning January 1, 2019.

- Check any plans you are considering for 2019 for your choice of doctors and hospitals.

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