The deadline for purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is this Saturday. Bruce Donaldson, Navigator Outreach Manager for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, says consumers are more comfortable with the enrollment process, which has been in place for four years, but there are still common questions.
"A lot of people still think that, 'Well, I have a preexisting condition. I won't be able to get coverage, or I can't afford it.' Number one, there's no preexisting conditions on these plans," Donaldson said. "That's why we have an open enrollment, so anybody can enroll with preexisting conditions or not and get coverage from day one that they're covered."
According to Donaldson, nearly 90 percent of Arkansans get financial help paying their premiums every month.
Late last year, the Trump administration shortened the enrollment period and cut the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act health insurance program. As a result, the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace has explored new ways to inform consumers about the 2019 enrollment period.
Donaldson said, "We've ramped up the digital marketing, so we've outreached to consumers through digital, through Facebook, Twitter, those platforms. The digital effort seems to have been very, very successful so far."
The Trump Administration also repealed the mandate that required Americans to carry health insurance or face tax penalties. The individual mandate was in effect throughout this year, but will end at the beginning of next year. Donaldson says it's too soon to tell whether that will reduce the numbers of Arkansans who purchase health care through the state's marketplace.