ACA open enrollment begins Wednesday, some recipients concerned - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

ACA open enrollment begins Wednesday, some recipients concerned about rate hikes


Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Wednesday is the first day of open enrollment for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Though one 'Obamacare' recipient from Colfax told News 18 she doesn't know if she'll be signing up this year because of the prices. 

"The choice is either you have insurance, or you just stop taking your meds and going to the doctor," Charlene Schwartz said on Wednesday afternoon. 

Schwartz has gotten insured through the ACA Marketplace for the last two years so she can afford her seizure medication. She said every year her insurance company, Security Health Plan, changes her plan and her rate a small amount. 

But this year, Schwartz said, her monthly premium jumped from about $60 to more than $200 a month, even with the subsidies she qualifies for. 

"And they're telling me, 'Well you can just get a cheaper plan.' But then I have to pay $200 for just the one pill that's keeping me alive, basically, that's keeping me from having a seizure. And if I have a seizure, I can't work for three months because I can't drive," Schwartz said. "I haven't been able to find anybody to help me understand what I should do." 

President Trump cut the Affordable Care Act's advertising budget by 90% and the enrollment period in half, leading to a lot of questions. 

Though there are resources on and around the Chippewa Valley. People like Don Finley, of Midwest Select Insurance Group in Eau Claire, said they're here to help. 

"Prices are going to be higher, but the subsidies to help bring down the premiums for those that qualify, those amounts are going to be higher too," Finley told News 18. "What we can offer every person that we work with is, that we will find the best available option." 

Finley said the rise in rates may have something to do with insurance providers leaving the market and fewer people signing up and paying into the pool. 

The period to enroll is much shorter this year; the ACA Marketplace closes December 15. That's why Finley recommended getting help and getting insured sooner rather than later. 

Follow the link for more information about assisting agencies in your area. 

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