(WAFB) - Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is reminding families that the open enrollment period for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace runs November 1 through December 15.
Those who do not receive health insurance through their employer can sign up and purchase individual policies sold by agents and other health insurance issuers.
The Health Insurance Marketplace was established in the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The marketplace allows people to compare healthcare plans based on factors such as providers, coverage levels, and pricing.
Two Louisiana providers, BlueCross BlueShield and Vantage Health Plan are offering a total of 40 plans for 2018.
"While we are seeing increases in health insurance premiums, subsidies are still available to many who purchase their plans through the marketplace. A licensed health insurance agent can help consumers evaluate their choices and also help determine whether a policyholder is eligible to receive a subsidy to help pay their premiums," said Donelon.
This year, 86 percent of those who enrolled in the marketplace received a subsidy from the federal government. The average monthly premium in Louisiana was after the subsidies was $177.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance encourages consumers to keep the following tips in mind:
- This year’s open enrollment runs November 1 through December 15. If you do not elect coverage by December 15, you will be unable to get healthcare coverage for 2018 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life change such as marriage, having a baby, or losing other coverage. Coverage for plans sold during open enrollment will start January 1, 2018.
- Plans can change from year to year and some plans that were available last year may no longer be available. Review your options closely to decide what plan may work out best for you. Even if you are choosing to stay with the same health plan you had last year, you should be aware that there may be changes.
- Be sure to check the doctors and hospitals in a plan’s network. Check any plans you are considering for 2018 for your choice of doctors and hospitals. Coverage that does not include the hospital down the street, but does cover the hospital across town may not be the right fit for you. To learn more, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance webpage www.ldi.la.gov/checknetwork.