TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act began on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2017 but there are changes this year that buyers should be aware of.
First and foremost, the enrollment period has been cut in half and will last only six weeks rather than the traditional three months.
It's just one of the reasons Tucson's Mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, flanked by a group of health care professionals, opened the enrollment period by reminding people "the Affordable Care Act is still the law."
Confusion reigns because of misinformation which has been spread about the act, many states never signed up for it and there are those who seek to destroy it.
"We're concerned about the fact the bad messages have gotten out that this program is not being funded," said Judy Rich, the President and CEO of the Tucson Medical Center. But she adds, "the health care exchange is alive and well."
TMC has been one of the prime recipients of the Affordable Care Act and the state expanded Medicaid program, both of which are being threatened by Washington politicians who seek to cut their funding.
Prior to the ACA, TMC would lose $25 million a year in uncompensated care, which is incurred when people don't pay for their health care.
Since the passage of the ACA, that has been cut to $8 million.
Still, despite the success, one in five children and adults in Pima County do not have health care.
Still, El Rio Community Health Center has cut its uninsured patient load in half, from 30 percent to 15 percent. (It serves 200,000 patients a year.)
El Rio will call all of those who have signed up for the ACA in the past, to remind them, they must do it again within the six week window.
"We have four plans in the Pima County Marketplace, Bronze, two Silver and one Gold," said Nancy Johnson, the Chief Operating Officer. "And the rates are very much the same as last year."
The sign up window runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.
There are multiple ways to find out more about the plans. Call 1-800-318-2596 to find out more.