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Healthcare open enrollment: what to know about costs, plans and Arizona prices

Posted at 5:10 AM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-01 08:49:57-04

It is the highlight of countless political ads flashing across your television screens this election season: healthcare. 

According to the Wesleyan Media Project, across the nation, it is the top issue brought up in campaign ads this year.

This comes as Thursday marks the start of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, also well known as its nickname, "Obamacare." 

For those who do not get insurance through their employers or those who want to look at other options, you can now shop for plans online

Healthcare has become quite a debate over the last few years, with President Donald Trump making repealing and replacing it a part of his campaign back in 2016. But, with all the back and forth in Washington, D.C., the program still stands today. 

"Not only is there not a ton of information; not only is it confusing, but healthcare as a whole has become a very politicized topic," explained Arizona State University Clinical Professor Swapna Reddy.

To navigate through some of that confusion, Reddy suggests getting online as soon as possible and enlisting the help of a free Healthcare Navigator on the enrollment website. They can help customize a plan for you and for your family with each specific circumstance. 

Reddy explained that there are some positives headed Arizona's way this time around.

"...The markets are starting to stabilize...and so, if you need coverage, you're actually entering a more stable market in 2019 then you were in 18, 17, or 16," Reddy described. 

In fact, Reddy said our state is considered one of the strongest markets in the nation.

Arizona will have two new insurers joining the marketplace in 2019. 

In 2014, there were 11 insurers, which Reddy described as a very "robust" market. Then, last year, most counties only had one insurance carrier, which eliminated any price competition and skyrocketed Arizona premiums. 

But, with those new insurers, our premiums are changing for the better. 

"We're seeing about a 10% decrease in ACA marketplace premiums, which is significant," Reddy explained. "We've never actually had that trajectory and nationally around an average of 1.5% decrease."

Reddy said there are some things about this enrollment period that you need to be aware of:

  • The enrollment period when you can sign up is 45 days shorter than last year and closes on December 15th. 
  • There is also expected to be maintenance conducted on every Sunday of enrollment, meaning one less day you can log on and select your plan.