Open enrollment: Encouragement and assistance needed!

Health care coverage is an essential component of advancing healthy communities. Currently, more than 30,000 South Dakotans are enrolled in coverage through the health insurance marketplace. This represents a 14 percent increase over 2016 and moved South Dakota to the second highest percentage increase in total enrollment in the country. Nationally, enrollees in the insurance exchanges exceeds 10 million and 90 percent of South Dakota enrollees receive premium subsidies to offset the cost of their coverage.

South Dakota utilizes the federally-run exchange which means enrollment goes through and two insurance carriers, Avera and Sanford, both of whom have filed plans to participate in the exchange. They have announced an overall 19 percent average rate increase for 2018. The proposed rates are based on the assumption that the federal government will continue to fund the cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). Rate increases could be as much as 20 percent higher if the CSR funding is eliminated.

This year, the health insurance marketplace enrollment period has been shortened significantly from previous years and runs from November 1, to December 15, 2017. In addition, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department recently announced they would be drastically cutting the marketing budget for the insurance exchanges from $100 million to $10 million a year.

HHS also announced reduced spending for navigators, the individuals who advise consumers when selecting a plan. These changes create a critical need for encouragement and support from multiple stakeholders to get the word out and provide assistance during the open enrollment period.

The health insurance marketplace provides the opportunity for people who do not have health insurance coverage through work, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or other source of qualifying health coverage. Individuals may qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers the monthly insurance premium.

Please consider providing encouragement and assistance during the upcoming open enrollment period! Click here for more information.