"As open enrollment begins, I want to remind consumers that they have options to make their health insurance coverage more affordable," said Commissioner Miller. "Rate increases for 2017 may be concerning for some consumers, but many consumers will not actually see the full rate increases."
In 2016, 78% of consumers who purchased health insurance through the federal exchange at Healthcare.gov received subsidies to help pay premiums and, in some cases, their out-of-pocket costs like deductibles. Subsidies are calculated based on the cost of the second-lowest cost silver tier plan in each rating area, so as premiums go up, subsidies are adjusted to meet these rising costs.
"According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, 75% of returning marketplace consumers will be able to find a plan for less than $100 a month after subsidies are applied," said Commissioner Miller. "It is critical that consumers consider this when shopping for a plan."
Commissioner Miller also stressed a report from the Department of Health and Human Services that showed that approximately 111,000 Pennsylvanians currently purchasing their own insurance could be eligible for subsidies if they were to purchase a plan from the federal marketplace at Healthcare.gov. Individuals considered in this study currently purchase individual health insurance coverage off-marketplace. In addition to this, some consumers that did not qualify for a subsidy in previous years may now qualify due to rising costs.
However, Commissioner Miller acknowledged that not all consumers will qualify for a subsidy. Approximately 90,000 Pennsylvanians who currently have individual health insurance through the federal exchange do not qualify for premium assistance. Commissioner Miller recommends that consumers research off-exchange plans in their areas that offer the same coverage as plans sold on the marketplace but may be less expensive. Off-exchange plans are sold directly by an agent or the insurance company, and subsidies are not available for these types of plans.
Commissioner Miller also reminded consumers of resources the Insurance Department makes available to help with shopping during open enrollment. A video available in English or with Spanish closed captioning and printable shopper's guide are available to help consumers understand what to look for when purchasing a plan, or if a consumer needs assistance, a list of licensed agents and marketplace navigators is available here.
Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance runs through January 31, 2017. December 15 is the last day to enroll in coverage that will begin on January 1; however, if your 2016 plan is being discontinued and you would like to choose a different plan than the one you are mapped to, you have until December 31 to make a change for coverage effective on January 1. For more information on open enrollment deadlines and to explore or choose a plan, visit Healthcare.gov.
For more information about 2017 rates and shopping for health insurance, visit www.insurance.pa.gov or call 1-877-881-6388.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ali Fogarty, 717-787-3289
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pennsylvania-insurance-commissioner-announces-beginning-of-2017-open-enrollment-period-reminds-consumers-of-availability-of-subsidies-for-health-insurance-plans-and-resources-for-shopping-300355078.html
SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department