Wisconsin News

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act begins Tuesday

Rising cost of premiums biggest concern for consumers

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act begins Tuesday

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The enrollment period for families to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins Tuesday.

But with premiums on the rise, many are wondering what they can do to keep the cost of their health care plan down.

Nov. 1 traditionally starts the enrollment period for those looking for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Depending on the state, you may or may not have to re-enroll with a plan.

But with premiums on the rise, experts say it's best to sit down with experts, making sure you find the right, and affordable, health insurance plan.

As technology evolves, health care navigators at Workforce Connections in La Crosse say health insurance exchange sites, like www.healthcare.gov in Wisconsin are becoming a much easier pill to swallow.

"We continue to see the process become more streamlined for customers and easier to navigate," Gina Brown of Workforce Connections said.

But the cost of premiums, navigators say, is rising, depending on what type of plan you enroll in.

That's why they say it is essential to know if you are eligible for tax credits.

"Eight out of 10 people are usually eligible for some type of tax premium tax credit," Brown said. "That tax credit is bringing those plans down to $50-$100 per person for their monthly coverage."

Minnesota operates its own health exchange website called www.mnsure.org.

Experts in the state say that some premiums there have increased to nearly $2,000 per person per month, but if individuals qualified for tax breaks last year and continue to this year, they shouldn't see a big difference.

"They are actually going to see a very slight increase over what they're paying this year, or maybe no increase," said Chuck Moline of AdvisorNet Financial in Austin, Minnesota.

But some customers in Minnesota are also being forced to change doctors, due to their doctors and health care facilities falling out of network.

"People are either going to have to resolve paying much higher deductibles and co-pays to continue going to their doctor, same health care provider, or looking to have to switch doctors entirely and probably have to go to a completely difference health care provider," Moline said.

Whether you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, experts say the enrollment period is a perfect time to make sure you are getting the best plan for your money.

"There's a lot of confusing things that happen with health insurance, and we want to help them navigate that system," Brown said.

Over 100,000 residents in Minnesota missed opportunities to reduce their cost through tax credits last year, another reason to check with experts if you live there.

For Wisconsin residents in La Crosse and surrounding communities, Workforce Connections is offering open enrollment events at various towns in the area over the next several months.

If you would like to learn more, head to their website, www.workforceconnections.org.

The enrollment period ends Jan. 31, but if you want to make sure you are covered for the first of next year you must be enrolled in a plan by Dec. 15.

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