The ACA and You: What to Expect for 2017 and How to Prepare

The ACA and You: What to Expect for 2017 and How to Prepare

2017 ACA Enrollment

It’s the tail end of the year 2016 and Americans have had a lot to get used to over the last couple of months. We lost seminal artist David Bowie, we watched Zika sweep the nation, and now we are experiencing one of the most contentious election periods in recent memory. Unfortunately, it appears there is more bad news to digest. The insurance premiums for the ACA have been released and, to the dismay of many, they have risen dramatically.

What Has Changed

Helplessly watching premiums rise 22% this year probably wasn’t what lawmakers expected out of the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, but it’s the reality for 2017. Premiums are set to increase by an average of 22%. That puts the average cost at $296 dollars a month. These figures are based on prices for a 27-year-old enrollee in one of the 39 states using the healthcare.gov exchange. For comparison, the premiums for the same benchmark plan only rose 7.2% in 2016. Price changes will vary from state to state with Arizona seeing the highest increase at 116% and Indiana seeing the lowest with a decrease of 3%.aca-image

Beyond the price increases, 21% of those utilizing the ACA will only have 1 insurer to choose from. This is because the number of insurers participating has dropped from 298 to 228. This specifically affects those living in Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina & Wyoming. Despite the bad news enrollment is expected to grow by 9% and the percentage of uninsured Americans is at an all-time low at 8.6%. Customers are also expected to be shielded from a lot of the price increases. 85% of enrollees receive federal subsidies which can lower the premium costs to 10% of their income. It is believed that after subsidies 77% of consumers will find a plan for less than $100.

What You Need To Do

It is essential for consumers to evaluate their options. There is a lot set to change so it is important that consumers take a look at the different plans that are available to them for 2017 and choose the one that makes the most sense for them. Those who choose not to make a change will automatically be re-enrolled in their current plan regardless of changes in price.

Open enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016, and will last until January 31, 2017. To ensure you have health insurance for January 1, 2017, you will need to enroll by December 15, 2016. If you enroll between the 16th and last day of the month, your coverage will not start until the first day of February.

Do you have questions about enrollment, coverage, or anything else related to the ACA? Our experts at AWS Insurance know that it can be confusing to figure out which health insurance plan best suits your needs. We’ll evaluate the options and decide what health insurance benefits are best for you, your family, or your employees. Call AWS today for a free evaluation at (504)-883-4111 or visit us on the web at https://awsinsurance.com/health-insurance-plans/

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Melinda Martin

Account Executive

Melinda began her insurance career in 1985 with Alexander & Alexander where she received her Property & Casualty and Life & Health license. Since then she has worked at various agencies in the New Orleans area and in California as a senior account manager for Employee Benefit Plans.  While in California, she was also the Membership Director for the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Melinda joined the AWS team in July of 2015.

Michael A. Seeling

Vice President

Graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a B.A. in Insurance Risk Management and is a graduate of Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans. He joined AWS in October of 2008 and has been awarded the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Certification (PPACA). Additionally, he is working towards his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) designations. He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), National Association of Insurance Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and is an active member of the Fore!Kids foundation.