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Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins Nov. 1

In 2022, almost 250,000 Michigan residents purchased their health coverage online through the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange.
Maksym Yemelyanov
Adobe Stock
In 2022, almost 250,000 Michigan residents purchased their health coverage online through the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange.

Open-enrollment season for health insurance is upon us, and Michiganders who want to get the right kinds of coverage have a lot to consider.

More than 520,000 people in Michigan are uninsured.

The health-insurance marketplace open enrollment period begins Tuesday and continues through Jan. 15. That's a busy time for most people, and Michigan residents have up to 12 insurance providers to choose from, depending on the county where they live.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare, said it's important to spend some time doing research when deciding on a coverage.

"You want to make sure you set aside some dedicated time to really understand and compare those benefits," she said. "You don't want this to be a decision you're making with not a lot of time, or maybe you were to forget it's time to make a decision, and then be locked into your current coverage."

Subsidies for people with incomes less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level will again be in effect. They've been extended through 2025 as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. That caps the monthly premium for those families at no more than at 8.5% of household income.

Looking at the 2023 health-insurance marketplace for Michigan, monthly premiums for an individual plan average slightly more than $435. That represents a 6.2% increase over this year's rate. With different plans at different price points, Randall said figuring out what you will - and won't - need from your health plan is critical.

"Some things to consider," she said, "are prescription-drug benefits, mental-health coverage, specialty benefits - things like dental, vision, hearing, critical-illness insurance - and others that may be available as well."

Randall added that it's also a good idea to learn some basic insurance terminology.

"Also make sure that you're looking at those things like your out-of-pocket costs, and having a good understanding of what those insurance terms mean," she said, "like copays, co-insurance, premiums, deductibles and more."

Michigan residents can purchase insurance through the federal exchange at HealthCare.gov.

Mark has over 30 years in the news media, where he has worked for newspapers, magazines, radio/TV and digital media. Currently based in Northern Michigan, he has also worked in Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Austin and Las Vegas, among other markets. Newsrooms include The Austin American Statesman, CBS News, The Associated Press, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dun & Bradstreet, Time Warner, and Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia). Mark earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a double major in print and broadcast news at The University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em Horns!).
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