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ACA open enrollment begins

By Stephanie Carson • Updated Nov 2, 2017 at 12:00 PM

NASHVILLE – The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace began Wednesday, and consumer advocates want to make sure Tennesseans understand the importance having coverage. 

This year, the federal government has cut funding for the health navigator program, as well as payments to states to offset the cost of premiums. But Kinika Young, director of children’s health at the Tennessee Justice Center, said it’s still important to make sure you and your family are protected.

“I think it’s important to remember that you want to make sure that you’re covered in the event of some health emergency or situation,” Young said. “So even though the Marketplace could use some stabilization, it is still the most prudent thing for people to have insurance, because you never know when you’re going to need it.”

Young said it’s also important to remember that the open enrollment period is shortened this year from three months to 45 days. 

Premiums in Tennessee are expected to increase because federal financial support for the states was eliminated by the Trump administration. Eighteen states are suing the administration to prevent the cutoff of subsidies. Tennessee is not one of them.

Young said it’s possible premiums will be adjusted if the lawsuit against the Trump administration is successful in securing federal support for the Affordable Care Act.

“It is entirely possible, if the states that have sued the administration prevail and the payments are resumed, then insurers should be called upon to have that reflected in their rates,” she said.

To schedule an appointment with a health navigator or access help in enrollment call 844-644-5443. In Tennessee, 234,000 people enrolled through the Tennessee health exchange this year – 13 percent fewer than the year before.

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