Premiums for 2021 will be relatively flat for Ohioans who buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and more counties in Ohio will have more options to chose from this open enrollment period as well.
Open enrollment begins on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. About 196,800 Ohioans bought their insurance through the marketplace for 2020.
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“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19′s impact on Ohio employers and communities, we expect to see increased demand for affordable individual health insurance plans, including on and off-exchange health plans,” said Jeff Blunt, local spokesman for Anthem.
He said Anthem is offering marketplace health plans in 76 of Ohio’s 88 counties in 2021 and in the Miami Valley, this includes new Anthem marketplace health plan offerings in Montgomery, Miami, Preble, Clark, Darke and Greene counties. This represents an increase from 48 counties this year, and during the instability of the exchange during open enrollment for 2018, Anthem briefly left the marketplace in Ohio altogether.
Anthem isn’t the only insurer expanding its 2021 offerings in Ohio.
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For next year, all counties will have at least two insurers and all but 10 counties will have three or more insurers, via the same 10 insurance companies who sold in Ohio last year, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.
This means many counties will have more options this open enrollment season compared to last open enrollment season. While the department also approved 10 companies to sell on the exchange in 2020, 29 counties had two insurers, and one county had only one insurer.
Ohio Department of Insurance stated that “premiums for 2021 are projected to stay relatively stable from 2020.”
The average annual premiums for the individual market for 2021 is projected to be $5,671, compared to this year’s$5,690.
While premiums have been leveling off, they are still on average a steep hike from the average $2,650 premium in Ohio in the inaugural year of the exchange in 2013.
However, individual companies’ rates will vary from the average. Many people also qualify for subsidies that offset the cost of marketplace insurance.
Many adults still find health insurance unaffordable, according to new data from the National Health Interview Survey by the CDC. In 2019, 14.5% of adults aged 18–64 were uninsured in the U.S.
Among uninsured adults aged 18 to 64 years old, the most common reason for being currently uninsured was that coverage was not affordable.
Hispanic adults (30.4%) were more likely than non-Hispanic white adults (22.3%) to indicate that they were uninsured due to ineligibility. Men (26.8%) were more likely than women (14.6%) to indicate that they were uninsured because coverage was not needed or wanted.
How to get help
If consumers are having problems with their current coverage, claims disputes, or other concerns with their policy they can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526.
During exchange open enrollment, the best first step is to contact an agent or broker, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.
Many community health centers have enrollment specialists who can help people learn about Medicaid eligibility or marketplace options.
Additionally, consumers looking to obtain coverage may contact the federal exchange in Ohio directly by visiting healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596.