• 45°

Open enrollment for health care options

Open enrollment for health insurance available on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces began on Nov. 1, and most Virginians will see more choices and lower premiums on the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare. gov.

The number of insurers participating in the marketplace in Virginia is up this year, as is the number of health insurance plans people can choose from, increasing from an average of 13.6 plans in 2019 to 19.6 plans on average available for 2020. In the Richmond area, consumers will be able to choose from 28 different health plans in 2020 — compared to only nine plan options in 2019.

According to the Virginia Bureau of Insurance, the weighted average premium will be reduced by 18%. Medicaid expansion is cited as one of the key reasons for this reduction in premiums.

In Virginia, 75% of current marketplace consumers will have plans available for 2020 that cost less than $50 per month after tax credits. More than eight of 10 marketplace enrollees in Virginia received premium tax credits to help them pay for their 2019 coverage. In addition, nearly half of all marketplace enrollees in Virginia also qualified for cost-sharing reductions this year, which lowered their deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket costs for health care services.

“Even if you’re happy with your current plan, it’s still important to review all of your options for 2020 to make sure nothing has changed,” said Jill Hanken, Director of ENROLL! Virginia and Health Attorney at Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC). “Because plans and prices change year over year, it’s vital that consumers take the time to compare their plan options.”

This is a great time for consumers to examine the deals found on the marketplace to save money and better meet their health care needs. Consumers who went on HealthCare.gov, compared their plan options and selected the plan that best fit their health and financial needs ended up paying 38% less per month on average in 2019 than the consumers whose plans were automatically renewed.

Consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll.