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Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

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Montana Health Expert: ACA Open Enrollment Going Into 'Full Swing' Wed.

More than 63,000 Montanans purchased plans through the federal health-insurance exchange. (Alterfines/Pixabay)
More than 63,000 Montanans purchased plans through the federal health-insurance exchange. (Alterfines/Pixabay)
October 31, 2017

BUTTE, Mont. – The open-enrollment period to purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace begins Wednesday. Folks in Montana can go to healthcare.gov to find a plan or covermt.org to get assistance in person.

This year, the enrollment period has been cut from three months to 45 days.

Holly McCamant with Southwest Montana Community Health Center says talk of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in Congress may have led to some confusion about the availability of plans. She says some of the people who call her every year for assistance haven't been calling, but she wants to reassure them that they can.

"Open enrollment 2018 is going to be in full swing and people who sign up will get both premium tax credits and insurance for 2018," she notes.

Open enrollment ends December 15. The federal government has cut the marketing budget for insurance exchanges and also the budget for navigators - individuals who help people find plans. Premiums for some Montanans are expected to go up after the Trump administration's decision to end cost-sharing payments to insurance companies that help cover low-income residents.

McCamant says having insurance helps people get more preventative checkups, which in turn help keep rates down.

"When the insurance rate was much higher and people ended up going to the hospitals only for an emergency instead of getting their preventative, that is part of the problem in making the rates go so high in the first place, and we'd sure like to see them stabilize," she explains.

More than 63,000 Montanans purchased their plans through the health exchange this year.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT