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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Visits ACA Open Enrollment Event

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 06: An attendee wears a button promoting open enrollment with Covered California during a news conference at HealthRIGHT 360 on November 6, 2017 in San Francisco, California. A statewide bus tour is making 22 stops throughout California to promote California Covered and encouraging people that are eligible to sign up. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Open enrollment is underway in the sixth year of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces, with some regions of the country experiencing unexpected drops in premiums and others weathering higher prices.

In California, premiums for plans sold through the state’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, will rise an average of 8.7 percent next year, although individual rate increases — or decreases — depend on a variety of factors, including where you live, what plan you choose and your income. Many consumers can save money by switching plans.

While open enrollment lasts through Dec. 15 in states served by the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, Californians who purchase their own coverage from Covered California or the open market will have until Jan. 15 to sign up.

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Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Jordan Rau and Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, appeared on the San Francisco public radio show “Your Call” to discuss why premiums are so expensive, how these insurance markets have succeeded and how they have fallen short, and what consumers should look for while shopping for next year’s plans.

Rau also discussed his recent reporting on premium changes around the country, with some areas like Memphis and Phoenix seeing more insurers selling policies and rates dropping.

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