Enrollment window open for 2018 Healthcare.gov

Cohen and Alexander pitch varying messages


Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) on Wednesday took to the House floor to remind his constituents and the country that the much-reduced time period for enrolling in health care through Healthcare.gov (“The Affordable Care Act”) has begun.

This year’s open enrollment is half the length of time – six weeks shorter – than last year. December 15 is the last day to sign up.

“Memphis has recently seen a decrease in the disparity in breast cancer mortality rates between black and white women, a clear indication that access to affordable care saves lives,” Cohen said in a House floor speech.

According to Cohen, in 2018, in Tennessee, 88 percent can find a “Bronze” Plan for under $75 a month. In Memphis, many consumers earning between $30,000 and $48,000 a year can find a “Silver” plan for under $100.

Cohen maintains that the Trump Administration’s effort to undermine a program that has led to “demonstrable and dramatic improvements in health outcomes” has included slashing marketing funding and funding for “navigators” to help people with the process as well as the recent Trump decision to stop the government reimbursing insurers.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is trumpeting his bipartisan bill, which he said would give people back some of their 2018 premium increases and lower premiums in 2019.

“Our proposal helps the hardworking Tennesseans who are really getting hammered – those without subsidies. Their premiums have already gone up as much as 176 percent in the last four years,” Alexander said via a released statement.

“Because of these skyrocketing premiums, too many Tennesseans find themselves without a way to purchase health insurance.”

Tennesseans buying insurance without subsidies this year have highest premium increase in the nation, Alexander said.

“Under the Alexander-Murray plan, if you’re one of the roughly 150,000 Tennesseans getting hammered in the individual health insurance market without a government subsidy, you’ll get money back next year,” Alexander said. “Without Alexander-Murray, you’ll get up to an average 58 percent increase in your premium.”

Because of skyrocketing premiums, too many Tennesseans find themselves without a way to purchase health insurance, Alexander said.

“Additionally, Tennesseans are seeing their plans disappear – Tennesseans had an average of 59 health plans to choose from when the exchanges opened in 2014, but will have just six in 2018. Our bill gives states more flexibility through state innovation waivers to approve different kinds of health plans, so people would have more choices and lower prices.”