Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, starts tomorrow. Obamacare was threatened with repeal numerous times this year but for now it’s still the law.
Confusion is the biggest theme when it comes to Obamacare this year. The sign-up period is shorter and there are fewer healthcare navigators to help people choose insurance plans. On top of that uncertainty about subsidies coming from the Trump administration have driven premiums up for some plans.
But according to Tanji Northrup, the assistant commissioner with the Utah Insurance Department, the law still applies.
"Today this law still remains [and] there still is an individual mandate and there is a penalty for those individuals who don’t have what’s called minimum essential coverage, or for those individuals who don’t have health insurance coverage."
About six percent of Utahns have Obamacare health insurance according to the Utah Health Policy Project. On average, the cost of those plans is going up 39 percent this year, but increases vary from one plan to another. Because of that, Northrup says insurance outside of Obamacare might be cheaper for some people. She says comparison shopping and talking to insurance agents is especially important this year.