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Former President Carter in the hospital; bracing for an arctic blast; politics show up for Veterans Day; trade and politics impact Wisconsin farmers; and a clever dog learns to talk some.

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65 years ago today, the federal government shut down Ellis Island, and the Supreme Court hears landmark case DACA; plus, former MA Gov. Deval Patrick might enter the Democratic primary race.

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Group Provides Free Help for Utahns to Enroll in ACA

Open enrollment is under way through Dec. 15 for health insurance coverage for 2020 through the Affordable Care Act. Free assistance is available to Utahns through TakeCareUtah.org. (mdr/PNS)
Open enrollment is under way through Dec. 15 for health insurance coverage for 2020 through the Affordable Care Act. Free assistance is available to Utahns through TakeCareUtah.org. (mdr/PNS)

November 7, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – The enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is open in Utah, and advocates say if you are uninsured, you should check into it.

Open enrollment for ACA health insurance began Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15.

There were almost 200,000 Utahns enrolled in the plan in 2019, but experts say there are thousands more who may be eligible but remain uninsured.

Sarah Leetham, program director for the Utah Health Policy Project, says enrollees will have more insurance plans to choose from in 2020.

"I guess the biggest things are (that) Cigna and BridgeSpan are joining the 2020 marketplace, which they weren't as of last year, and extensively expanded their plans this year,” she points out. “They had about three or four plans last year and they've got eight or nine this year."

Leetham says Take Care Utah is one of the main sources of assistance for people all around the state who need help applying for an ACA plan, and that it doesn't cost anything. She says the nonprofit agency has about 50 enrollment specialists to assist in finding the right plan.

Leetham says people don't always know whether they are eligible for insurance under the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

"A lot of folks that are falling under the 200% federal poverty level, there will be some kind of cost-sharing reduction or subsidy assistance for them,” she states. “So, it is worth getting connected with someone that can answer these questions and at least working through an ACA application."

Leetham says the average cost of a policy on the Utah Health Insurance Marketplace is down 6% from last year, and depending on your income and where you live, your health insurance could be very inexpensive.

"We are seeing a return of zero dollar premium plans with the subsidies for the expansion of certain plans and new plans entering the marketplace,” she states. “We're also seeing more options for zero dollar premium plans."

Take Care Utah is a coalition of groups, including the Utah Health Policy Project, Association for Utah Community Health and the United Way.

Utahns seeking help can call the 211 Answer Line and ask for Take Care Utah, or they can go online to TakeCareUtah.org.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT