NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance begins November first. That's Tuesday.
The much-publicized higher premiums concern a lot of participants, but there's some reassuring news for the very poor.
It was only this week Kathy Harris, a certified application counselor for Marketplace coverage, learned just how much premiums would go up in price next year.
"It's not that bad," Harris said. "Not as bad as we thought it was going to be."
Harris said that knowing Blue Cross Blue Shield asked for a 57-percent increase, but received a 44-percent increase. Some clients will see their rates rise by hundreds of dollars monthly. The same goes for penalties if they're not enrolled. However, those who can least afford higher rates, may not see an increase at all.
"It's not going to affect people that are under 300 percent, 400 percent poverty level quite as much," Harris said. "It depends on how much they make a year and how many people in the home."
HealthCare.gov walks applicants through an application or a review of an existing account. That alone can be overwhelming, so Harris encourages individuals to seek guidance from certified counselors. They help with exemptions, pre-certifications with physicians and specialists and all the options on co-pays, deductions and out-of-pocket expenses.
"So they can make a informed decision on the plan that's best for them," Harris said.
All households, including Medicare recipients, need to review their coverage and keep these very important dates in mind.
"Open enrollment starts November 1 to January 31," Harris said.
However, if you want 2017 insurance to start January 1, you need to enroll no later than December 15.
The government provides income-based subsidies to about 85 percent of people enrolled, and those credits will increase with the higher premiums. It said 72 percent of consumers on HealthCare.gov will find plans with a premium of less than $75 per month.