ACA Open Enrollment Begins November 1

The annual enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins in most states on November 1. Rules may differ in your state, so check  for details.

Typical premiums are expected to decline a bit (2 percent), although the costs for family coverage are hardly a bargain. More insurers are offering ACA plans, meaning that you are more likely to have two or three plans to choose from where you live instead of one, which of course is really no choice at all.

“At the same time, deductibles continue to rise, according to an assessment by Health Affairs.  “For bronze plans, the median individual deductible increased from $6,755 for 2020 to $6,992 for 2021. For silver plans, deductibles rose from $4,630 to $4,879. And gold plan deductibles rose from $1,432 to $1,533.”

The average cost of a benchmark “silver” plan will be about $380 for a 27-year old and $1,485 for a family of four. If you qualify for an ACA subsidy – and nearly nine out of ten policyholders do – your out-of-pocket costs will be much less.

The news this year is not so much about available ACA policies and costs but about how COVID-19 has sharply changed economic fortunes of many people who might seek coverage. If you’re one of them, it’s worth spending the time to see what kind of deal you can get for 2021 ACA coverage.

Figuring this out can be challenging. If you need a refresher on different ACA “metal” plans and the workings of ACA tax subsidies, check out Kaiser Family Foundation’s extensive ACA guides.

The Trump Administration has been trying for years to kill the ACA but it still funds a slimmed-down navigator program to help people enroll in plans. Here’s a list of state-by-state navigator programs with contact information. Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms also provides a Navigator Resource Guide.