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Open enrollment opens for health insurance marketplace

Sunday began the Open Enrollment period for residents across North Carolina. Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace in North Carolina is running from November 1 through December 15. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to place an extra emphasis on health, and more residents find themselves without insurance due to being out of work, open enrollment is more important than ever.

While there might be some changes to the Affordable Care Act in the future due to pending court cases, right now, the law remains active and the law ensures access to quality, affordable health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Right now, more than 20 million Americans are enrolled.

To qualify for the Affordable Care Act consumers must:

Don’t have an offer of employed based insurance or a spouses’ offer of employer coverage

Aren’t currently incarcerated

Are a citizen or have immigration status (except DACA)

Are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare

Have income between 100%-400% FPL (Single person: $12,760- $51,040/Family of 4: $26,200 -$104,800)

Last year, more than 90 percent of North Carolinians who enrolled for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace received financial assistance of some sort to purchase health insurance. Premium subsidies are available for customers with household incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. About 84 percent of Blue Cross NC’s current customers with individual ACA plans qualify for subsidies in 2020.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be reducing rates by an average of 1 percent statewide for 2021 Affordable Care Act plans offered to individuals, which marks the third straight year that Blue Cross NC has lowered rates — a three-year total reduction since 2018 of over $380 million.

2021 rates take into account two unexpected and fluid circumstances — the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and customers’ deferral of non-urgent care. After many customers deferred care in March through May, a large number have recently resumed elective procedures, which is reflected in a significant increase in customers’ medical claims for June and July.

The last day to enroll in or change plans under the Affordable Care Act for 2021 is December 15, 2021. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. The new coverage will begin on January 1, 2021, if you have paid your first premium.

Pisgah Legal Services, based in Asheville, provides assistance to residents across Western North Carolina enrolling in the Affordable Care Act. Due to COVID, Pisgah Legal Certified Application Counselors are offering all appointments by phone. If you or someone you know needs assistance with your application or understanding how to compare plans, Pisgah Legal can help! Make an appointment at www.pisgahlegal.org/aca  or call 828-210-3404.

 

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