Right now. we are in the midst of Open Enrollment 2018. People who don't have health insurance or are looking to get new insurance are shopping around for the best plan for themselves.
This being said, it's difficult to shop around without fully understanding what you are shopping for. That's why Cosmo Insurance is here to lend a helping hand.
There are big changes to the market under the Trump administration, which has vowed to dismantle the health reform law. Some plans will be much more expensive, while others a lot less so. There will be less enrollment help available from some non-profit groups, but it may be easier to get advice from brokers. And the sign-up period will be a lot shorter.
These changes -- combined with President Trump's repeated declarations that Obamacare is dead -- could mean a lot fewer people will enroll for 2018. Some experts estimate that sign ups could fall by 1 or 2 million from the 12.2 million who initially picked plans this year.
Here are five changes coming to Obamacare open enrollment for 2018:
Silver plans are pricier. Premiums for the benchmark silver Obamacare plan will soar 37%, on average, in 2018, according to federal data.
But how much consumers will pay depends a lot on where they live. In Alaska, for instance, the price of the benchmark silver plan will drop by 22%, on average, because the state created a reinsurance plan that protects carriers from footing the entire bill for enrollees with high medical bills. But in Iowa, where only one insurer will remain on the exchange, premiums for the benchmark plan are skyrocketing 88%.
It will also depend on which policy they pick. The lowest cost silver plan, for instance, is only rising 17% in price, on average, according to federal data.
Many insurers jacked up the rates of their silver plans in part to make up for President Trump ending federal support for Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies. These subsidies reduce deductibles and co-pays for lower-income enrollees.
Most consumers, however, will be shielded from the rate hikes. That's because they get premium subsidies that limit their monthly cost to less than 10% of their household income.
Gold policies are more affordable for some. Premium subsidies are also soaring since they are pegged to the price of the benchmark silver plan.
But the average premium for the lowest cost gold plan is rising only 19%. That means the cheapest gold policy will have lower rates than the least expensive silver plan in 459 counties next year once subsidies are factored in, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.
The gold plans may be much more attractive to enrollees since they come with an average deductible of $1,320, compared to just over $4,000 for a silver policy, according to Health Pocket, an online health insurance shopping tool.