Open Enrollment for Healthcare Marketplace Closes Friday

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Last year, the open enrollment period in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace lasted three months.

"We've pretty much stayed busy the entire (enrollment) period". While its weekly enrollment numbers this year have so far surpassed weekly numbers from 2016, only 35,000 had enrolled as of December 2 due to the shorter enrollment period. Despite all of the political rhetoric surrounding the ACA, consumers are taking the time to educate themselves on insurance and are taking a vested interest in learning more about the importance in having coverage for themselves and their families. But that's only about a third of the 238,483 individuals who signed up during the last enrollment period.

Though the Trump administration cut the open enrollment period in half this year - from 90 days to 45 days - NY has extended the enrollment period for its own marketplace to January 31 for 2018 coverage.

Obamacare enrollment this year has fallen behind the pace set by previous years. Officials wonder whether everyone has gotten the word that they can't wait any longer to sign up. The American people "don't want a healthcare system that's sent into chaos just for partisan reasons", Obama said, according to a transcript provided by his office.

The news about tax reform is also creating confusion during the final days of open enrollment.

Kiger said Pisgah Legal will be open well into Friday evening to accommodate what she expects will be a rush of people needing help at the last minute. "Lots of people are reaching out for assistance".

People can enroll in the ACA without help from an agency like Pisgah Legal and many do.

In a twist, many people eligible for financial help may actually be able to pay lower premiums in 2018.

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"There are a number of people who have been very pleasantly surprised", Wilson said.

Sen. Tom Carper said there is a pending request for the federal government to extend Delaware's enrollment period. Consumers can still make appointments to get sign-up help at CoveringFlorida.org, she said. Those who choose to go without health insurance may have to pay a minimum penalty of $695.

"Not everyone is walking away feeling like their plan is affordable", Kiger said.

The Health Federation's team of trained insurance navigators also assists organizations such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia and Nationalities Service Center in hosting special outreach events.

"Even the negative press may be encouraging them to get enrolled", Parker said.

That information was incorrect because every county in the nation now has at least one health insurer offering plans under the Affordable Care Act for next year.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Kara Odom Walker said more than half of the Delawareans who signed up for a plan past year did it at the last minute.

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