Open enrollment begins for 2022 'Obamacare' health care plans
Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is underway in Utah and across the country, and experts are calling the program better than ever before.The insurance marketplace, sometimes known as "Obamacare," is an online resource to shop for and compare health plans during the enrollment period.
Matt Slonaker, executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project, said eligibility changes made to the program during the pandemic have made the ACA a stronger marketplace.
"In the Utah market, there are more plans available, which is great for competition, gives folks a lot more to choose from; a lot more options, different networks, things like that," Slonaker outlined. "The subsidies are stronger and longer open enrollment, so you've got more time to make the decision."
To compensate for the economic downturn in the pandemic, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, which modified many of the ACA plans with lower premiums and increased subsidies.
Open enrollment runs through Jan. 15, unless you want the plan to start at the first of the year. In that case, you need to sign up for a plan by Dec. 15.
Slonaker noted for 2020 and 2021, the average monthly premium dropped from $424 to just over $100. In addition, two out of five enrollees paid $10 or less for monthly premiums, with significant reductions in out-of-pocket expenses.
"One of the other benefits of signing up for health insurance these days not only are subsidies stronger, but they actually extend to higher income levels than they used to," Slonaker explained. "So, folks that may have been prevented from getting subsidies in the past actually now have a path to potentially get a subsidy to potentially help offset their cost."
Check the coverage available in your area online at healthcare.gov, where you can enter some basic information and compare the plans.
There are also instructions for how to sign up, but if you need more help, free assistance is available at TakeCareUtah.org or by calling Utah 211.