Open Enrollment For Obamacare Begins Amid Uncertainty And Rising Premiums

Open Enrollment For Obamacare Begins Amid Uncertainty And Rising Premiums

8:00am Nov 01, 2017
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

For those who want to sign up for health insurance through Obamacare, the enrollment period begins Wednesday.

After repeated attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed, Obamacare remains the law. And that means there’s still an individual mandate – the requirement to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

But there are some changes that consumers need to be aware of this year. The enrollment period runs for six weeks, from November 1st to December 15th, about half of what it used to be.  

North Carolina has two insurers offering plans on the Obamacare marketplace – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cigna. Both are increasing some premiums after the Trump administration announced it would stop reimbursements, known as cost sharing reduction payments, to insurers. They’re designed to help with out-of-pocket costs, like copays and deductibles.

Even though the reimbursements have stopped, insurers are still required to offer the discount to eligible customers.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in North Carolina 67 percent of marketplace enrollees were eligible for cost sharing reduction in 2017.     

This year is the fifth open enrollment period for people who don’t get their insurance through their employer or through public programs like Medicaid or Medicare.

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