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It's No Trick: Time to Shop for Marketplace Health Insurance

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Monday, October 31, 2016   

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It's no trick, open enrollment begins Tuesday for the fourth year of the federal health insurance marketplace.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks has trained and certified navigators, who can assist people as they review their health care coverage options.

Joree Novotny, the association’s director of communications and grants management, says Ohio is seeing some of the lowest increases in average premiums.

And she encourages those who are already covered under a marketplace plan – and those who are not – to shop around.

"Ninety-four percent of currently enrolled consumers could save an average of over $1,000 annually,” she points out. “There's also about 64,000 Ohioans that are paying full price for off-marketplace coverage, that could be eligible for financial assistance if they were to shop on the marketplace."

An estimated 880,000 Ohioans have been connected to health coverage since the Affordable Care Act was implemented. And in order to have health coverage for 2017 starting Jan. 1, people must be enrolled by Dec. 15.

More enrollment information is online at areyoucoveredohio.org.

Novotny notes that about 85 percent of people who are eligible to purchase coverage through the marketplace qualify for financial assistance in the form of tax credits.

"The Affordable Care Act was designed so that when premiums increase, tax credits also increase in order to compensate for the increase in costs and help keep health coverage affordable," she states.

For 2017, there are 11 insurance providers Ohioans can compare through the federal marketplace, down from 17 in 2016. But Novotny says there are still plenty of plans available.

"We want to encourage people not to get caught up in the noise around the Affordable Care Act and insurance plans available through the marketplace,” she stresses. “Many consumers, in fact, that have met with us have expressed afterward how pleasantly surprised they've been with the affordable coverage options they have."

In Ohio, the average second-lowest cost Silver Premium plan for a 27-year-old, which is a benchmark to determine rate increases, is rising just 2 percent in 2017 over last year.

In other states, federal officials have estimated increases of 25 percent for the same plan.





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