Open enrollment for health care coverage next year begins next week amid uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act and big increases in premiums for individuals and businesses that do not qualify for subsidies. Nevertheless, the health care law is still in effect and those required to enroll in a plan will face increasing penalties by the Internal Revenue Service if they fail to do so.
The changes were made in response to concerns that people are taking advantage of current rules to sign up only after they get sick, and worries that a lack of payments to brokers has affected enrollment.
About half of those who get coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange will need to change plans for next year. But the availability of a key source of help – brokers, who advised buyers of 40 percent of this year’s policies – will be significantly reduced, worrying some who say clients could struggle to get help picking the right coverage.
As state regulators consider rate proposals for next year, both of the carriers set to remain on the exchange – Anthem and ConnectiCare – could eliminate their commissions for brokers in 2017, creating uncertainty as brokers and customers plan for the coming year. Many brokers have indicated they will leave the exchange if they will not receive sufficient compensation.