ACA Enrollment Is Now Open - What Do San Antonians Need To Know?

Wyoming near top for some Obamacare premium prices next year

Some Wyomingites will pay more than $600 a month for a standard bronze plan on the health care exchanges in 2018, the third-highest amount in the nation, according to a new study.

Kaiser reviewed premium data in each county of the 39 states with exchanges run by the federal government.

NY is one of 11 states that, along with the District of Columbia, run their own websites and marketplaces for the program commonly called Obamacare.

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As expected, premiums are climbing at a fast clip. The lowest-cost gold plans, which provide much lower deductibles and more comprehensive coverage, will have an average premium increase of 19 percent. Kaiser found silver-level premiums will rise an average of 35 percent in 2018 over 2017 prices. This subsidy is available to individuals with household incomes from $15,060 to $37,650, and to a family of four with a household income from $30,750 to $76,875. In return, insurers receive reimbursements for those consumer payments from the federal government. Nonetheless, under the law, insurers must continue to share these costs with eligible consumers.

Other factors have also contributed to the rise in premium costs, such as reduced competition in numerous exchanges and confusion over the future of the ACA in general.

Smith adds, "A lot of folks are a little bit confused about their options for health insurance this year so it's really important to understand that nothing has really changed compared to last year". Lower-income individuals would receive even more in tax credits and thus pay less in premiums.

The only things you get for free under the ACA is preventive coverage: annual checkups, vaccinations, and screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions.

"If the portion of people doing that, even 1 or 2 percent more, tips us into unstable territory, it's challenging every year to cover our costs, but to tip in the direction of uninsured makes our task that much harder", he said. It's the only way to ensure you're covered in 2018. The customer's share of medical bills are called out-of-pocket costs and include the deductible, co-insurance and co-payments. For instance, a 48-year-old consumer earning roughly $30,000 can find a zero-premium bronze policy in nearly 1,050 counties next year, up from 132 counties in 2017, according to an analysis by Oliver Wyman consulting group.

But the difference is particularly remarkable for 2018. It has also cut federal funding to nonprofit groups that traditionally helped low-income residents navigate the process of signing up and qualifying. Last year, almost 250,000 New Jerseyans enrolled, and eight out of 10 received tax credits to keep their costs down.

But premiums aren't the whole story. With a drop in marketplace enrollment, the ACA is more likely to implode.

Taken together, the changes to subsidies and the length of the enrollment period could decrease access to regular, preventative care such that more people rely on the emergency room services, Guevara said.

The budget for promoting open enrollment was also downsized by 90 percent, from $100,000 million past year to about $10 million in 2017. The open enrollment deadline for 2018 is coming quickly, December 15.

Navigators say they're simply trying to stay the course - and remind people that, despite the turmoil in Washington, they can still get health insurance.

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