Open enrollment is now open, area organizations ready to help

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Quality, affordable health care can be the key to making ends meet and taking care of your family.

Open enrollment began Friday if you want to buy health insurance or upgrade your current plan.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, premiums are down 4% from last year.

This year, Florida gained two more insurance companies that offer coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Healthcare premiums are a personal thing, contingent upon your age, tobacco-use and even your zip code. All of those can bump up your price. Your county also determines your options.

“Coverage is cheaper than people think. Last year, nine in 10 people qualified in financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable,” said Joshua Peck, co-founder of Get America Covered and former chief marketing officer for

In Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, there will be more navigators available to help you find the right plan at a price you can pay.

“Think really carefully about what you can afford, not only in terms of insurance coverage but also what would happen in the event that something bad really does happen to you,” said Dr. Victor Claar, an FGCU Economist professor.

Something else that can make a difference is new star ratings next to every plan. This will tell you what other enrollees think about the quality of care.

“If you already had a plan that you purchased for calendar year 2019, in most cases that will automatically roll over for you. But that shouldn’t distract you from going onto the website and shopping for a new plan that might be a better fit,” said Claar.

Open enrollment runs through Dec. 15.

If you need help navigating plans, there are several organizations in the area that are ready to help! One of those is the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida.

“If your insurance isn’t through your employer, you should definitely, for your family and for yourself, have that coverage for yourself. And we can help you do that,” said Brian Hemmert, member of the Health Planning Council.

Other organizations that can help you choose a plan:

For more information visit the website, here.

To apply for health insurance, visit the Ways to Apply for Healthcare page, here.

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