Affordable Care Act Marketplace open enrollment begins

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DC Health Link, established under the Affordable Care Act, offers open enrollment for individuals and families through January 31, 2019. Across the state help is available from navigators at many Community Action Agencies, assisters at Federally Qualified Health Centers, and at many hospitals. They are not available for policies purchased off the marketplace or for policies purchased through your employer.

Also, the federal government has announced planned maintenance shutdowns of HealthCare.gov on most Sunday mornings during open enrollment. "I urge people to shop early for a plan on the marketplace, meet with in-person assisters to explore your options and to sign up before the December 15 deadline".

However, some say the additional options could lead to consumers buying less coverage than they need. Those less-expensive plans can also deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Those changes come in the form of new legislation from the Trump administration making it easier for people to enroll in short-term plans offered by private insurers or to opt out of buying health insurance altogether. Open enrollment runs through November 15.

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The marketplace is a key part of the Affordable Care Act.

When asked about how the 1322 waivers will play out, Mr. Southwell said, "At least 40 states have already extended short term health insurance durations to between six to 12 months, demonstrating a commitment to finding affordable insurance solutions for their citizens so we should expect even more creative solutions from the various states using 1322 waivers". While the ACA provides states the opportunity to seek a waiver under Section 1332, sometimes called the State Relief and Empowerment Waiver, they have been hard to obtain.

The state health department said prices for most of its insurance policies are not increasing from 2018 to 2019. Before, consumers would pay a penalty if they were not enrolled in a health plan. The same three companies that offered plans this year are offering plans for 2019: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter.

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".

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Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Shereef Elnahal is asking all medical and behavioral healthcare providers in the state to encourage and help their patients and clients get the coverage that can save their lives.

Two insurers - Delta Dental of Delaware, Inc. and Dominion Dental Services, Inc. - will offer a collective 11 stand-alone dental plans on the Marketplace.

Most marketplace shoppers will qualify for financial help to lower their costs. Though decreases will bring down premium rates, an individual's out-of-pocket premium costs depends on several factors, including the amount of Advanced Premium Tax Credit subsidies; therefore, some consumers may experience an increase in out-of-pocket costs for coverage.

Consumers should contact GCI at (866) 311-1119 or visit the GCI website to learn if they are eligible to receive financial assistance based on their income and family size. Today AgileHealthInsurance is the largest distributor of short term health insurance, providing a fast, online process for purchasing these plans.

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