Health insurance ‘open enrollment’ begins

Published 1:44 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon advises Louisiana families that the open enrollment period for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace is open from now through Jan. 15, 2022.

During open enrollment, individuals and families who do not receive healthcare through their employers can sign up through the online Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase individual policies sold by agents and health insurance issuers.

The Health Insurance Marketplace, www.healthcare.gov, was established by the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act and allows consumers to compare health insurance plans based on key factors including providers, coverage type and price.

Five health insurance issuers are offering individual marketplace plans for 2022: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Vantage Health Plans, Inc., UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, Christus Health Plan Louisiana, and Louisiana Healthcare Connections (also known as AmBetter). Plan availability may vary across zip codes. Rate filings for plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace show a statewide average increase in Louisiana of 4.9 percent in the individual market and 6.7 percent in the small group market.

“Particularly while we still weather the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for families to have healthcare coverage,” Donelon said. “While we are seeing increases in health insurance premiums, subsidies are still available to many who purchase their plans through the marketplace.”

The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) offers the following tips for open enrollment:

  • This year’s open enrollment runs until Jan. 15, 2022. If you do not elect coverage by Jan. 15, 2022, you will be unable to get healthcare coverage for 2022 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life change such as marriage, having a baby or losing other coverage. Consumers who enroll by midnight on Dec. 15 can get full year coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2022.
  • The American Rescue Plan created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic expanded the availability of financial assistance for coverage through the Marketplace, making financial assistance available to more consumers and at greater levels. These greater subsidies continue from 2021 into 2022 and are available to eligible new consumers and to consumers returning to the Marketplace to shop for 2022. In part as a result of the American Rescue Plan, four in five consumers will be able to find health care coverage for $10 or less per month.
  • Be sure to check the doctors and hospitals in a plan’s network. Check any plans you are considering for 2022 for your choice of doctors and hospitals. Coverage that does not include the hospital down the street but does cover the hospital across town may not be the right fit for you. To learn more, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s website at www.ldi.la.gov/checknetwork.

Additional resources on the LDI website include:

  • A searchable database of licensed insurance agents who can assist with the purchase of health insurance is available at www.ldi.la.gov/findagent.
  • Health insurance basics and FAQs are provided in the publication A Consumer’s Guide to Health Insurance available at www.ldi.la.gov/publications.
  • An online searchable database of rate filing summaries is available at www.ldi.la.gov/healthrates.