Open enrollment for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act ends this Saturday.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the number of enrollees has declined by 11 percent nationally and by 18 percent in Ohio compared to the same point last year.Karen Pollitz with the Kaiser Family Foundation says the Trump administration's dramatic cuts to the open enrollment period and in advertising for navigator programs to guide people through the process has an impact on the numbers.
"So far the biggest lag is in these new consumers. Because it's the new people coming to the market for the first time or for the first time in a while, who are probably most in need of help, most in need of a reminder, and you know, help in getting their application in.
Ohio had a budget of 2 million dollars for navigator programs in 2017. This year, it's 300 thousand dollars. Help understanding options for coverage is available from either a trained “navigator” or from a health insurance broker or agent. Both are free. To find help, go to Find Local Help at HealthCare.gov. Then enter your city and state or zip code to get a list of navigators, insurance agents, and brokers near you.