Prepare for this year's health insurance enrollment period

How to navigate the health insurance...
YUMA, Ariz. - This year's enrollment period is the shortest its ever been. Here's what you need to know as healthcare plans change and enrollment period approaches.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare has been in place for seven years now. Despite recent chaos and confusion with failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, News 11 spoke with a local insurance broker and a navigator to help break down the health insurance options for you in Yuma County.
This year, 2,419 people in Yuma received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona telling them their individual insurance plan is changing.
Steve Meinhardt, an insurance broker at Yuma Insurance said he has been recieving a lot of calls where people think their insurance is cancelling on them when really it is not.  
"It was just that their plan would change, meaning they'll have to go to a different deductible," he said.
Every year Blue Cross releases new healthcare premium rates and this year some rates went up but also, some rates actually went down. It is important to look very closely at the breakdown of rates by ages. For children under 20-years-old the prices have gone up. 
"It has some increases but luckily not as bad as last year," Meinhardt said.
There is often much confusion of what is available for healthcare, but luckily Yuma has many resources available.

"We have navigators and certified application councilors throughout Yuma County and you can obtain that help by going through a local community health center or through," Sunset Community Health Center's lead navigator, Ana Soliz said.
In Yuma we have several different options for families and individuals looking for health coverage.

The first option is Medicaid. In Arizona we know it as Access and it is for low income families or individuals. 

The second option is for those who go over the income limit. This is called Kids Care which is similar to Access. It covers children under the age of 19-years-old. It has a monthly premium and covers all the benefits at 100 percent.
The third option is for those who don't qualify as low income and their employer doesn't offer health insurance. This option is Obamacare through
It is important to know how much time you have to enroll for health insurance. "Open enrollment period is short so you're only going to have 45 days to enroll and the enrollment starts November 1 and is going to run through December 15th," Soliz said.

This period is important for everyone. There has been a lot of changes and also a lot of confusion with healthcare. It is important to know that the Affordable Care Act is still the law so it is required for everyone to have health insurance. If you do not enroll in health insurance you may have to pay a penalty at the end of the year when you do your taxes. 
If you have a recent change in income, it is important to update your information during the enrollment period. There are also tax credits available for people at certain income levels. In October, President Trump signed an executive order changing the way subsidies are going to be handled. If you are interested in finding out what subsidies are available for you visit a local navigator or broker.

You can attend the Sunset Community Health Center's fifth annual resource and enrollment event.
There, they will have navigators like Soliz and other certified application councilors to provide enrollment assistance through the health insurance marketplace, Access and Kids Care.
Enrollment events are open to the entire community, and will kick off on November 9th at the Foothills Library from 11:00am-4:00pm.
Visit for more information.

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