Minnesotans urged to do careful research ahead of ACA enrollment

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At 4%, Minnesota has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the U.S., but those still looking for a health plan, or who want to change their policy, can do so starting Nov. 1, when open enrollment through the Affordable Care Act begins.

Congress extended enhanced subsidies for health insurance premiums, so people who purchase plans under their state exchange will pay no more than 8.5% of their household income through 2025.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare employer and individual, said it is important to set aside time to compare all the plans available as well as understand your own family’s needs.

“Just because you had a certain coverage last year, you might not want to have that coverage roll over,” Randall pointed out. “You want to make sure that you’re looking into what your options for 2023 look like.”

Randall noted more insurers are expanding their mental health coverage and offering more virtual care options, which gained popularity during the pandemic. She added it is also important to consider the value of having an integrated plan covering specialty care, such as hearing, dental or vision.

More insurance companies are also expanding their wellness incentives. They may offer discounted rates for people who exercise, do not smoke and work to lower their blood pressure.

Randall stressed your goal should be to find a plan to help you navigate the health care system.

“You’re looking for also a health plan that’s going to have good advocacy,” Randall emphasized. “Whether it’s a digital interaction or you’re calling your health plan to interact, they’re helping you maximize your benefits and services in getting you to the care that you need at the right time.”

Open enrollment is the only time during the year, outside a special sign-up period, when people can make selections for their current health coverage. After kicking off in November, enrollment runs through Jan. 15. UnitedHealthcare has posted online videos to help people navigate the exchange as well as the sometimes confusing insurance terminology.

Mike Moen writes for the Minnesota News Connection.

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