Open enrollment for health insurance opened this week and things are a little bit different this year.
The enrollment window this year is half what it has been. Buyers now have six weeks instead of 12 to sign up for a plan through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
Another change this year is that premiums have increased dramatically – about 29 percent for Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans and 19 percent for CareSource plans on average. The increase will affect about 15 percent of West Virginians in the marketplace.
But there is a silver lining. About 85 percent of people in West Virginia who buy insurance through the marketplace aren’t going to be affected by the premium increases. That’s because they qualify for premium subsidies.
Premium subsidies are designed to keep costs for consumers within 100-400 percent of the federal poverty line about the same.
The basic advice? Don’t automatically reenroll, but shop around. It may be, that no matter your income, there are better plans available for you than the one you are enrolled in now.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.